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Aoe. No . \'^\H7 

Dftt« >V* ,.\: .L.i.. 




I T is impossible to thank individually all those who collaborated in the work 
described in this book. Of many I have no trace, not even their names. 
Others are mentioned at length in the description of incidents in which 
they took part. Nonetheless there are many to whom I owe a special word 
of appreciation. Prof. Ernest DeWald and Mr. John Ward Perkins, as director 
and deputy director respectively of the Monuments and Fine Arts Sub-com- 
mission of ACC, placed me in my assignment with a full knowledge of the 
magnitude of the responsibility and gave me whole-hearted support. Prof. 
Deane Keller and Prof. Norman Newton were understanding superiors during 
the periods when some portion of my duties fell under their jurisdiction. 
Col. Robert G. Kirkwood, my Regional Commissioner, was as fine a com- 
manding officer as I ever had the good fortune to obey, and Brig. Gen. Edgar 
Erskine Hume gave me the same measure of support he would have accorded 
to one of his own officers. To Cecil Pinsent, Roger Enthoven, and Edward 
Croft-Murray I owe a debt of gratitude for their devoted work in Florence. 
Without such Provincial Commissioners as Colonels Rolfe of Florence, Nichols 
of Siena, Walters of Pisa, Me Bratney of Pistoia and Quin-Smith of Arezzo 
the work here described would not have been possible. 

The Italian Superintendents not only did excellent work but were loyal to 
the Allied officers who worked with them during the war and its aftermath. 
Comm. Giovanni Poggi, Profs. Filippo Rossi, Ugo Procacci, Rafiaello Niccoli, 
Piero Sanpaolesi, and their assistants deserve my warm thanks. I wish also to 
e.xpress my appreciation to Commendatore Poggi, Professor Procacci, and 
Sig. Bruno Farnesi for permitting me to publish their narratives. My assistants 
in the office, Signorina Ester Sermenghi, Miss Ingeborg Eichmann, 

Paul O. Bleecker, Franco Ruggenini, and Alessandro Olschki were hard work- 
ers and good friends. 

Work would have been infinitely more difficult without the hospitality and 
friendship of Donna Lucrezia Corsini, in whose palace I stayed for ten months. 
Chief among the other Italians whom I would like to thank for innumerable 
personal kindnesses are Count and Countess Guido Rasponi, Countess Bocchi- 
Bianchi dei Franceschi, Comm. Aldo Olschki, Mons. Giuseppe Bertocci, Prof. 
Ranuccio Bianchi-Bandinelli, Prof. Mario Salmi, Sen. Gaetano Pieraccini, 
Comm, and Signora Marino Querci. To the architects, inspectors, parish priests, 
officers, soldiers, engineers, carabinieri, my appreciation for the help they gave, 
each in his own sphere. 

{ vit } 


One hardly knows where to begin to thank Bernhard Berenson. Throughout 
the difficult winter of 1944-1945 he and Signorina Nicky Mariano gave me the 
kind of moral support that made even failures seem worth while. 

Finally my sincere thanks to Miss Margot Cutter of Princeton University 
Press, for her encouragement and for her help in revising the manuscript. 

Acknowledgment for the use of photographs is made to the Superintendency 
of Galleries, Florence, for Figures 3, 8, 10, 12 , 13, 14, 16, 17, 18, 19, 21, 24, 25, 
26, 27, 28, 34, 35, 38, 39, 45, 47, 48, and 49; to Alinari for Figures 7, ii, 20, and 
44; and to Brogi for Figures i, 5, 6, and 15. 

TZew Yor\, ] antiary ly, 




















1. TUSCANY 126 



{ -'V } 




Allied Control Commission 


Air Force Headquarters 


Allied Military Government 


Allied Military Government 
Occupied Territory 


British Broadcasting Company 


Civil Affairs Officer 


Committee of National Liberation 


Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives 


Observation Post 


Office of Strategic Services 


Peninsular Base Section 


Senior Civil Affairs Officer 


Supreme Headquarters American 
Expeditionary Force 



E very region of Italy is rich in works of art, but none so rich as Tuscany. 
Wars have passed over it. Time, weather, vandalism and neglect have 
destroyed possibly more than remains. Rare prizes have been carried 
off by invaders or sold by priests and private owners. Yet what is left in the 
birthplace of the Renaissance is still the greatest and most nearly complete 
artistic heritage that mankind possesses. In peacetime thousands of tourists 
visited the Tuscan cities each year, many hundreds went to the hill towns, 
some indefatigable students always managed to reach the remote villages, each 
of which cherished some fine fresco or sculpture or church tower, or was itself, 
complete with walls and towers on its hilltop, a work of art. To the student 
who knew Italy before the war the beauty of the Tuscan towns and cities, the 
magnificence not only of the Pitti and the Uffizi but of the scores of provincial 
collections, the grandeur of the churches and the palaces, must have seemed 
as inviolable as the matchless Tuscan landscape. 

What happens when this dense fabric of human achievement, so infinitely 
precious, so incalculably old, so carefully guarded, is struck by tlie full force 
of modern warfare ? This is what I shall try to record in the following pages. 
It is a chapter of recent history, in which I hope Allied successes and Allied 
failures will receive equally objective treatment, and in which honest German 
attempts to protect and to save works of art will be related side by side with 
the concerted Nazi program under which Tuscany was to be insofar as possible 
despoiled of her art treasures. German mines, often needlessly, obliterated a 
high proportion of Tuscan monuments; Allied bombers damaged many a 
church and palace with bombs intended for nearby railway yards or troop 
concentrations. What remained intact was protected and what was injured was 
salvaged through fourteen months of ceaseless efforts by Allied and Italian 
officials in daily collaboration. I cannot hope to tell the whole story. Many an 
event, of intense significance for us who lived through these unforgettable 
months, can no longer be recaptured in anything like its full force. I have tried 
therefore to include in this account only the most dramatic incidents; more 
complete information is recorded in the Appendix. 

The Italian authorities had done, as we later found out, almost everything 
possible to protect their country’s treasures against bombardment. In most cities 
every movable work of art from churches and museums had been taken to 
villas, castles, or monasteries outside the city to form deposits guarded by local 
custodians and periodically inspected by expert restorers from the great mu- 

{ 3 } 


scums. In addition, the contents of many of the largest libraries and archives 
had also been evacuated to similar deposits in order to preserve illuminated 
manuscripts, early printed books, and valuable historical documents. 

Those works which could not be moved — frescoes on church walls, sculptured 
portals, pulpits, fonts, and tombs, carved decorations on church facades — were 
covered to minimize the damage from high explosives. Granted that no feasible 
shelter could be designed to protect these works from direct hits, it was still 
possible to reduce the even more frequent danger from nearby explosions. After 
preliminary protection by paper or cloth to prevent scratches to the surface, 
these immovable works of art were generally hidden behind a barrier of sand- 
bags held in place by a scaffold, and sometimes an additional wall of reinforced 
concrete or of brick. Unusually slender columns were often sheathed in brick- 
work to the top, and fragile arches propped at the center by piers of brick. In 
the case of frescoes, air holes had to be left in the protective walls to permit 
circulation of air and prevent the growth of mold. But works of architecture 
could not be protected on any extensive scale. Their size and their number 
made that impossible. 

This work of protection was the responsibility of Italian government agen- 
cies. Ail works of art in Italy are under the supervision of the Superintendencies 
of Monuments and Galleries, jurisdiction of archives and libraries falling to 
the Ministry of the Interior. These Superintendencies, of which there are more 
than fifty, are responsible to a General Direction of Fine Arts, part of the 
Ministry of Public Instruction. With few exceptions the Superintendencies are 
staffed with an unusually competent group of art historians, architects, restor- 
ers, who have the final word on all questions relating to the preservation of 
works of art considered part of the national heritage, even if they are private 
property. In this connection it should be observed that most museums in Italy 
are not, as in the United States, private corporations, but are the residue of the 
numerous royal or ducal collections of the great principalities into which Italy 
was formerly divided, and to which in 1870 the united Italian State fell heir. 
Furthermore, the Italian Kingdom also expropriated the holdings of the Church 
throughout Italy, so that Church buildings became government property 
Parish and cathedral churches were left to the occupancy of the clergy, while 
the State, since it had confiscated the Church lands from which income was 
derived, assumed the responsibility for the maintenance of the Church buildings 
in perpetuity. Monastic establishments were in manv cases sold back to the 
monastic orders. Very often, however, they were used by the State as office 
buildings, barracks for troops or carabinieri, or sold to private individuals 
Many Italian palaces came under State control, either through direct inheritance 
by the Crown or through purchase. But whether public or private property 

{ 4 } 


Italian law provides strong safeguards for the maintenance of the condition 
and original appearance of any building of artistic importance. 

To the Allies, also, the safety of Italian art was a cause for deep concern. The 
story of Roosevelt’s appointment of the Commission for the Protection 
of Cultural Treasures in War Areas, generally known as the Roberts Commis- 
sion, needs no retelling. This commission had a British counterpart, installed 
in the War Office in London, and both American and British commissions sug- 
gested the appointment of specific experts on art to the staffs of the military 
commanders in the fields. These officers, known as Monuments, Fine Arts, 
and Archives Officers (generally abbreviated to mfaa), were provided with ex- 
haustive lists and maps indicating the location of the monuments and collec- 
tions. The lists were the result of many months of devoted labor by American 

The first mpaa officers in Italy were attached to the headquarters of amgot 
in Sicily. On the establishment of the Allied Control Commission (known as 
the Acc), a Subcommission for Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives was 
founded under the acc with authority over the entire artistic heritage of Italy 
as long as it remained under direct Allied control. Throughout most of its 
work this Subcommission was under the leadership of Major, later Lieutenant 
Colonel, Ernest T. DeWald, Professor of Art and Archaeology at Princeton 
University, an outstanding authority on mediaeval art and Italian painting. 
He was assisted by a British Deputy Director, Maj. John B. Ward Perkins, a 
classical archaeologist, now director of the British School in Rome. Another 
MFAA officer was assigned to Fifth Army and still another to Eighth Army as 
staff officers of the army axig, for each army commander had his own fairly 
autonomous amg organization, guided only in the broadest sense by directives 
from ACC in Naples (later in Rome). The rest of the mfaa officers were assigned 
to the staffs of the regional commissioners of the various regional amg’s into 
which Italy was to be divided, directly responsible to the acc. While these 
regions, such as Campania, Apulia, Umbria, Tuscany, Lombardv, each con- 
tained several Italian governmental provinces, they corresponded in a general 
way to the basic regional divisions of the nation. I had the good fortune to 
be the regional mf.a.a officer for Tuscany. 

On the basis of material furnished by the Roberts Commission and by the 
Harvard American Defense Group, as well as from Baedeker and the indis- 
pensable twenty-four volume Gnida d'ltalia published by the Touring Club 
Italiano, we published our own Lists of Protected Monuments, slender, pocket 
handbooks with two or three regions in each booklet. Each contained a copy 
of General Eisenhower's famous order to his commanders to protect cultural 
treasures insofar as was possible in the progress of the war. This was followed 


by a specific order from Headquarters Allied Armies in Italy forbidding the 
occupation of any monument on the list except under certain narrowly limited 
conditions. Then there was an alphabetical list of the towns, their geographical 
coordinates keyed to the military maps, and all their principal buildings and 
collections of cultural importance listed. Our information about the location of 
deposits of works of art was fairly vague at the time the lists were published in 
Naples, in the absence of complete Italian government records available only 
in Rome, but we included all deposits known to us. These pocket lists were 
distributed to all commanders down to battalion level, and were extremely 
helpful in controlling thoughtless damage by troops after a given area was 

The duty of the army mfaa officers was to reach all important artistic objec- 
tives as rapidly as the progress of military operations permitted, make a com- 
plete survey of the condition of the monuments and collections in each town 
or village, and report at once on their findings. While the original report was 
addressed to the senior civil affairs officers of the amg of the appropriate army, 
a copy went to acc for the information of the Subcommission and another copy 
to the regional amg concerned for the action of the regional mfaa officer. The 
plan worked very well, and these two officers, Maj. Norman Newton with 
Eighth Army and Capt. Deane Keller of the Yale University Art School with 
Fifth Army, spent all their time moving up with the troops and exploring 
each newly liberated center. If a town had been only slightly damaged their 
job was simple, but many Italian towns and cities had been devastated either 
by the actual fighting or by the bombardments which preceded. Often the 
Superintendency was situated in a provincial or regional capital which had not 
yet been liberated. Thus the mfa.a officer had to contact local officials and ob- 
tain labor for salvage work under fantastically unsettled conditions and often 
under fire, in order to clear the rubble from buried paintings or sculpture, ex- 
cavate precious books or documents buried under tons of wreckage, prop 
masonry which seemed ready to fall, and protect in whatever manner possible 
frescoes exposed to rain and sun. The provisions of the LisI of Protected Monu- 
ments forbidding requisition of certain buildings had to be enforced, a matter 
for considerable diplomacy under immediate post-combat conditions. Not ail 
the solutions were in the book. But the tact and resourcefulness of these two 
officers was equal to every situation, and they were able to prevent further dam- 
age to many immensely important works of art. 

Both officers spoke Italian fluently, made contact with local officials and 
when the seat of a Superintendency was reached, thev cooperated with the 
responsible superintendent in the most urgent projects of repair. In addition 
to the usual precautions for the safety of deposits of works of art, the army 

{ 6 } 


MFAA ofi&cers arranged for military guards to supplement the Italian custodians 
wherever necessary to prevent looting and damage either by troops or civilians. 
These military guards could ill be spared by the army, but were often main- 
tained for considerable periods until normal conditions returned. Off Limits 
signs excluding troops from protected buildings were liberally posted, usually 
over the signature of the army commander or of General Alexander as com- 
manding general of Allied Armies in Italy. In the main they proved quite 

The regional mfaa officers were to maintain liaison with their counterparts 
in the army amg, receive copies of those reports which concerned their regions, 
and move up into the regions as soon as practicable in order to take over the 
work where the army mfaa officers had left off. Permanent relations with the 
Italian Superintendencies, long-term programs of repair to war-damaged 
monuments, return of evacuated works of art from deposits to the museums 
and churches — all these were to be the work of regional mfaa. To it fell the 
long, slow job of the permanent repairs after army mfaa had departed with the 
moving front. The repair work was always undertaken with one object: preven- 
tion of further deterioration to war-damaged monuments of aesthetic or histori- 
cal importance. No restoration was contemplated ; the replacement of missing 
pieces, the completion of broken decorations, and the replastering and repaint- 
ing could wait. We were only to repair the roofs so that rain and snow could 
not endanger frescoes or altarpieces below the smashed tiles, consolidate broken 
or shell-perforated masonry, replace shattered timbers and, in extreme cases, 
excavate for decorative fragments and building materials in the ruins of hope- 
lessly wrecked structures. Rebuilding of entirely destroyed portions was at- 
tempted only when mere retaining walls would have cost very nearly as much. 
The work was to be executed by the Superintendencies, but it was closelv 
supervised by the regional officers, who decided which projects should be at- 
tempted and which were either impossible or inadvisable. Furthermore, it was 
the regional mfaa officers who had to obtain the release of strictly controlled 
building materials, appropriations of Italian government funds, gasoline for 
the Superintendency cars so that the officials could reach the often widely 
separated monuments, permissions for them to travel in areas controlled by 
the army, and a thousand other practical details. The regional officer was to 
work in his area as long as the region itself remained under amg. 

The plan was splendid, but in practice it gave rise to many difficulties. For 
the regional mfaa officer there was always an intermediate period of waiting 
and planning while assigned to a regional amg headquarters which had to re- 
ceive army orders before it could move into the newly liberated and still army- 
controlled areas of its own region. Tuscany was Region viii, and in late June 


1944 our headquarters, under the command of the regional commissioner, Col. 
Robert G. Kirkwood, an extremely capable administrator with over thirty 
years’ experience in the American army, was established in Orvieto. The beauti- 
ful and famous town, on its huge flat-topped rock overlooking the valley of 
the Pagha, was absolutely unscathed by the war. It was a joy to walk through 
the vast interior of the black and white Gothic cathedral, or to stand in the 
chapel frescoed by Signorelli with the heroic Last Judgment series. But it was, 
alas, a fallow month with little else to do save cull lists of works of art out 
of guidebooks and study and restudy the towns for which I was to be respon- 

Both Fifth and Eighth Armies had already entered Tuscany. The region 
was to be split between them. This meant that we had to learn two totally 
different sets of regulations and customs, for nothing could be more different 
than the personalities of the two senior civil affairs officers. Brig. Gen. Edgar 
Erskine Hume for Fifth Army, Group Captain Benson of the raf for Eighth. 
Although I had a driver with me — a friend. Franco Ruggenini, whom I had 
known before the war in Mantua and had discovered in Naples quite by acci- 
dent a few weeks before — I had no vehicle. An effort to obtain transportation 
of any sort meant a long, and usually losing, struggle at the Region viii trans- 
portation office. Furthermore, I was receiving no reports from either Fifth or 
Eighth Army mfaa on what was happening to the monuments in Tuscany. 

Every morning massive formations of four-engine bombers thundered up the 
Paglia valley and over the cone of Mount Cetona on the horizon, marking 
the boundary of Tuscany. All night the guns could be heard, their flashes mak- 
ing a brilliant show against the dark sky. As I watched and listened I had fresh 
in my mind the disasters of bomb-ravaged Naples: the shapeless wreckage of 
all the Baroque decorations and Gothic tombs of Santa Chiara, the shattered 
Quattrocento chapels of Santa Anna dei Lombardi, the dozens of ravaged 
churches and palaces, and even more recently the devastation of Gaeta and 
Terracina, Itri and Fondi, Velletri and Valmontone. I could imagine the same 
fate befalling Tuscany, and in Orvieto, despite its beauty and quiet, I became 
increasingly impatient. 

In the meantime Captain Keller had been steadily progressing with Fifth 
Army up through the southwestern part of Tuscany, the wild region of the 
Maremma, sending in voluminous reports on its tiny hill towns, castles, Etrus- 
can remains, and scattered altarpieces by Sienese Quattrocento painters. 
Through an error at the Fifth Army amg message center, none of these reports 
reached me until, weeks later, the Subcommission recopied them for my 
information. Communications with Fifth Army headquarters were difficult- 
impossible by telephone. Finally, waiting became unendurable and I resolved 
to do some exploring of my own, with whatever transportation I could find. 



O N June 13 I set out on my first journey. Under wartime conditions 
the shortest trip had to be carefully calculated. Roads, worn to bedrock 
by years of neglect and the subsequent weight of Allied trafl&c, had 
in addition been mined by the Germans. Only the roughest repairs had been 
made. Interminable traffic jams at by-passes and broken bridges meant hours 
of waiting in line. Military trucks, jeeps, artillery, and tanks churned up a 
dust so thick that the road was at times completely hidden. Twenty miles an 
hour was a good average speed in the light British truck which I was forced 
to use, being unable to get a jeep. But under such conditions I visited Chiusi, 
Montepulciano, and Pienza. The damage to the archaeological museum in 
Chiusi and to the roof of the cathedral in Pienza was offset by the almost com- 
plete escape of Montepulciano, perhaps the most spectacular of the Tuscan hil l 
cities. This cluster of mediaeval houses and Renaissance palaces is massed on 
a rock towering more than a thousand feet above the Valdichiana, visible for 
miles across the plains and hills, above the blue mirror of Lake Trasimeno. 

Before long I acquired a battered jeep to which I was to become deeply at- 
tached. In two years of service this curious vehicle had sustained both the 
North African and Sicilian campaigns. Region \aii had received it from Sar- 
dinia. Its windshield was shattered, it had only four, much worn, tires, its 
radiator leaked, its springs were weak, its shock absorbers defective. It pos- 
sessed neither mirrors nor canvas top, and its rattling body threatened momen- 
tarily to disintegrate. Below the windshield appeared its name, “13 Lucky 13.” 
“Lucky” acquired a certain fame in Tuscany. It carried bishops, priests, and 
monks; princesses, countesses, and dukes; old peasant women and rich mer- 
chants; superintendents, architects, directors, and inspectors; colonels and pri- 
vates, black, white, brown, and yellow; a U.S. Senator and the Assistant Secre- 
tary of War. Every kind of freight was loaded in it — sacks of flour or charcoal, 
cheeses, turkeys, chickens, pigs, and lambs, dead and alive ; cement, plaster and 
other materials for restoration; priceless manuscripts, Sansoni’s negatives for 
the complete series of photographs of the Upper Church at Assisi, and even 
such important paintings as Masaccio’s Si. Paul from the Pisa Carmine altar- 
piece and Duccio’s Flight into Egypt and Presentation in the Temple from the 
Maesta in Siena. Before its duties in Tuscany were over it had towed Grand 
Duke Ferdinand, all in bronze, from the courtyard of the Uffizi into the public 
square. Unfortunately the speedometer broke so many times that it was im- 
possible to compute the mileage, but between the time I first rode in it in 

i 9 } 


1944 our headquarters, under the command of the regional commissioner, Col. 
Robert G. Kirkwood, an extremely capable administrator with over thirty 
years’ experience in the American army, was established in Orvieto. The beauti- 
ful and famous town, on its huge flat-topped rock overlooking the valley of 
the Paglia, was absolutely unscathed by the war. It was a joy to walk through 
the vast interior of the black and white Gothic cathedral, or to stand in the 
chapel frescoed by Signorelli with the heroic Last Judgment series. But it was, 
alas, a fallow month with little else to do save cull lists of works of art out 
of guidebooks and study and restudy the towns for which I was to be respon- 

Both Fifth and Eighth Armies had already entered Tuscany. The region 
was to be split between them. This meant that we had to learn two totally 
different sets of regulations and customs, for nothing could be more different 
than the personalities of the two senior civil affairs officers. Brig. Gen. Edgar 
Erskine Hume for Fifth Army, Group Captain Benson of the raf for Eighth. 
Although I had a driver with me — a friend. Franco Ruggenini, whom I had 
known before the war in Mantua and had discovered in Naples quite by acci- 
dent a few weeks before — I had no vehicle. An effort to obtain transportation 
of any sort meant a long, and usually losing, struggle at the Region \nii trans- 
portation office. Furthermore, I was receiving no reports from either Fifth or 
Eighth Army mfaa on what was happening to the monuments in Tuscany. 

Every morning massive formations of four-engine bombers thundered up the 
Pagha valley and over the cone of Mount Cetona on the horizon, marking 
the boundary of Tuscany. All night the guns could be heard, their flashes mak- 
ing a brilliant show against the dark sky. As I watched and listened I had fresh 
in my mind the disasters of bomb-ravaged Naples: the shapeless wreckage of 
all the Baroque decorations and Gothic tombs of Santa Chiara, the shattered 
Quattrocento chapels of Santa Anna dei Lombardi, the dozens of ravaged 
churches and palaces, and even more recently the devastation of Gaeta and 
Terracina, Itri and Fondi, Velletri and Valmontone. I could imagine the same 
fate befalling Tuscany, and in Orvieto, despite its beauty and quiet, I became 
increasingly impatient. 

In the meantime Captain Keller had been steadily progressing with Fifth 
Army up through the southwestern part of Tuscany, the wild region of the 
Maremma, sending in voluminous reports on its tiny hill towns, castles, Etrus- 
can remains, and scattered altarpieces by Sienese Quattrocento painters. 
Through an error at the Fifth Army amg message center, none of these reports 
reached me until, weeks later, the Subcommission recopied them for my 
information. Communications with Fifth Army headquarters were difficult — 
impossible by telephone. Finally, waiting became unendurable and I resolved 
to do some exploring of my own, with whatever transportation I could find. 

{ 8 } 



O N June 13 I set out on my first journey. Under wartime conditions 
the shortest trip had to be carefully calculated. Roads, worn to bedrock 
by years of neglect and the subsequent weight of Allied traffic, had 
in addition been mined by the Germans. Only the roughest repairs had been 
made. Interminable traffic jams at by-passes and broken bridges meant hours 
of waiting in line. Military trucks, jeeps, artillery, and tanks churned up a 
dust so thick that the road was at times completely hidden. Twenty miles an 
hour was a good average speed in the light British truck which I was forced 
to use, being unable to get a jeep. But under such conditions I visited Chiusi, 
Montepulciano, and Pienza. The damage to the archaeological museum in 
Chiusi and to the roof of the cathedral in Pienza was offset by the almost com- 
plete escape of Montepulciano, perhaps the most spectacular of the Tuscan hill 
cities. This cluster of mediaeval houses and Renaissance palaces is massed on 
a rock towering more than a thousand feet above the Valdichiana, visible for 
miles across the plains and hills, above the blue mirror of Lake Trasimeno. 

Before long I acquired a battered jeep to which I was to become deeply at- 
tached. In two years of service this curious vehicle had sustained both the 
North African and Sicilian campaigns. Region viii had received it from Sar- 
dinia. Its windshield was shattered, it had only four, much worn, tires, its 
radiator leaked, its springs were weak, its shock absorbers defective. It pos- 
sessed neither mirrors nor canvas top, and its rattling body threatened momen- 
tarily to disintegrate. Below the windshield appeared its name, “13 Lucky 13.” 
“Lucky” acquired a certain fame in Tuscany. It carried bishops, priests, and 
monks; princesses, countesses, and dukes; old peasant women and rich mer- 
chants; superintendents, architects, directors, and inspectors; colonels and pri- 
vates, black, white, brown, and yellow; a U.S. Senator and the Assistant Secre- 
tary of War. Every kind of freight was loaded in it — sacks of flour or charcoal, 
cheeses, turkeys, chickens, pigs, and lambs, dead and alive; cement, plaster and 
other materials for restoration; priceless manuscripts, Sansoni’s negatives for 
the complete series of photographs of the Upper Church at Assisi, and even 
such important paintings as Masaccio's Si. Paul from the Pisa Carmine altar- 
piece and Duccio’s Flight mto Egypt and Presentation in the Temple from the 
Maesta in Siena. Before its duties in Tuscany were over it had towed Grand 
Duke Ferdinand, all in bronze, from the courtyard of the Uffizi into the public 
square. Unfortunately the speedometer broke so many times that it was im- 
possible to compute the mileage, but between the time I first rode in it in 

{ 9 } 


July 1944 and the rainy day in August 1945 when I bade it farewell in Salzburg, 
“Lucky” must have covered between thirty and forty thousand miles. 

Franco Ruggenini drove the jeep superbly, with a real genius for negotiating 
the infernal military traffic. He was, moreover, a hardworking assistant and 
a loyal friend. During July we traveled from Orvieto to the principal towns of 
southern Tuscany, largely untouched by the war. I shall never forget the first 
visit to Cortona, which has always seemed to me the quintessence of Tuscany. 
The few Renaissance buildings and severe Gothic churches above the streets 
of intact twelfth and thirteenth century houses rise, in long masses of grey 
sandstone and brown roof-tile, high above the Valdichiana to the summit 
guarded by the gigantic fourteenth century castle. Halfway up from the valley 
floor stands Francesco di Giorgio’s greatest work, the church of the Madonna 
del Calcinaio. The war, raging in bitterly contested Arezzo twenty miles away, 
had not disturbed the peace that lay upon the cypresses and olive trees and 
upon the austere perfection of the architecture. 

We learned to know well the Via Cassia, that climbs from the Umbrian 
border through desolate lands to the strange castle-town of Radicofani, more 
than three thousand feet above the sea. From this grim peak one looks across 
a succession of arid ridges, west to the cone of Mount Amiata, south to the 
blue hills of Latium, north to where on clear days the Apennines above Florence 
are visible a hundred miles away. We explored the roads through the chestnut 
forests of Mount Amiata, where here and there a disemboweled tank had been 
left behind by the tide of war, and along the barren pastures of the Orcia val- 
ley to the hovels of Castiglione d’Orcia and Rocca d’Orcia clustered around their 
castle ruins — inspecting Sienese primitives and Della Robbia reliefs surprisingly 
little damaged by the war. We visited the towered city of Montalcino on its 
ridge, last stand of the Sienese Republic against the Florentine invader, and San 
Quirico d’Orcia, shorn of its tallest tower but with its sculpture intact. But the 
climax of these early days of exploration was the trip through the succession 
of brown brick towns along the poplar-bordered course of the Arbia, many of 
them wrecked by heavy fighting, up to where across the ridges the miracle of 
Siena, its towers and spires flashing in the sunset, rose against the sky. 

Once in the town, I w'alked the ancient streets with their Gothic arcades and 
windows, brick walls and travertine carvings, looked across the Campo to the 
Palazzo Pubblico, climbed to the cathedral. Only a shellburst here and there, 
scarring an occasional bit of wall with flying fragments, showed that the war 
had passed over the city. The Sienese, who have always called their town the 
City of the Virgin, believed firmly that the Madonna herself had intervened 
to save it. Be that as it may, I walked the streets all evening, giving especial 

{ 10 } 


thanks for the preservation of this enchanted web of history from the fate that 
had overwhelmed Viterbo and the shining towns of the Alban hills. 

Yet the sound of not-so-distant artillery was a firm undertone to all the chat- 
ter and noise of the crowded streets. And it was in Siena that two alarming re- 
ports reached me from Captain Keller on conditions in San Gimignano. 

With its marvelous crown of mediaeval towers, the best preserved skyline of 
any town in Tuscany, San Gimignano is regally enthroned above the blue-green 
valley of the Elsa. Captain Keller’s detailed reports told of the terrible havoc 
wrought by two days of shelling by the Germans with 280 millimeter projectiles. 
(I was luckily ignorant of the uninformed report which had appeared in Time 
that the city and all its works of art had been totally destroyed.) While the 
towers seemed to have stood up very well under the attack, roofs everywhere 
had given way and many walls had been shattered. The roof of Sant’ Agostino 
had been damaged, exposing to the weather the enchanting fresco series of 
the Life of St. Augustine by Benozzo Gozzoli. In the same church the altar 
of San Bartolo by Benedetto da Maiano had been spared. A shell had crashed 
against the chapel of Santa Fina in the Collegiata and by some special miracle 
had missed all the treasures the chapel contained. The two frescoes of the Vi- 
sion and the Funeral of Santa Fina, by Ghirlandaio, were unscratched and only 
a few pieces of the plaster architecture surrounding the altarpiece by Benedetto 
da Maiano were snapped off. The Palazzo del Podesta had been heavily shelled 
and the windows and roof smashed, endangering the frescoes within, partic- 
ularly the huge Maesta by Lippo Memmi. The little museum of the Collegiata 
had been completely unroofed, but the contents had been previously placed in 
safety by the clergy. 

But the chief tragedy had befallen the nave of the Collegiata. Shells directed 
at the nearby tower of the Palazzo del Podesta, which the Germans with good 
reason believed was a French artillery observation post, had exploded all over 
the roof, destroying more than half of the tiled surface, shattering beams and 
crosspieces, and tearing great holes in the stone vaulting of the Romanesque 
nave. The unique fresco series by Barna da Siena had been badly hit. A 280 
had gone right through the Crucifixion, the most dramatic and moving of the 
whole series, carrying away a circular section a yard in diameter. Two shells 
had pierced the Marriage in Cana, tearing out nearly half of it. Benozzo Goz- 
zoli’s St. Sebastian on the inner wall of the facade had been splashed with frag- 
ments, and a shell had pierced the Paradise of Taddeo di Bartolo. So far my 
work in Tuscany, for all its inconveniences, had been a pleasure trip. Now I 
was faced with a major disaster beside which the damage at Pienza and San 
Quirico seemed trifling. 

( n } 


With the cooperation of Colonel Michie (then scao of the French Corps), 
and the help of Capt. Sidney Waugh, the cao of San Gimignano, Captain Keller 
had in the five days since the liberation of the town begun an active progr am 
of salvage and repair. The commtmal engineer, Simonelli, had already been 
set to work on the damaged roof of Sant’ Agostino. The Collegiata had been 
closed to visitors; Off Limits signs in French and English had been posted on the 
monuments; and the unwilling clergy had been directed and assisted in the 
salvage of the precious vestments exposed to the weather in damaged sacristies. 
I was naturally anxious, however, for the superintendent of monuments and 
galleries, Raffaelle Niccoli, to reach the town as quickly as possible to assume 
direction of the work and make plans for permanent repairs. An hour after 
I read Captain Keller’s report we set out for San Gimignano. A brief stop at 
Colle di Val d’Elsa, whose magnificent upper town on its high rock had escaped 
the heavy damage that had laid waste the artistically unimportant lower town, 
was our only delay. 

San Gimignano appeared from across the fields to be intact but the spectacle 
on arrival was terrifying. Glass, smashed bricks, tiles and stones and jagged 
shell fragments littered the streets. Great holes yawned in mediaeval house 
walls. Ragged eaves betokened shattered roofs. The two portals in the severe 
facade of the Collegiata, posted Off Limits in large, bilingual signs, were closed, 
so we entered through the cloister, whose graceful arcades had suffered severely 
from shellfire. The church floor was covered ankle deep with rubble. Shafts 
of sunlight shone into the nave through the gigantic hole where the shells had 
destroyed the vaulting. Not a fragment of glass remained in any of the win- 
dows. But already the entire right aisle where the Barna frescoes were had been 
roped off so that careless feet would not destroy the salvageable pieces of fresco 
that lay under the rubble. Of the frescoes, the Crucifixion was badly mutilated. 
Barna’s talent for the dramatic and the diabohcal had shone particularly in the 
group of Roman soldiers who stood under the cross, gloating over the gar- 
ments of Christ. This group had been carried away almost entirely by the shell 
that pierced the wall, and the surrounding areas of the fresco were bulging 
ominously outward, loosened by the concussion. Moreover, the great blocks of 
masonry to which the plaster had been applied were weakened all around the 
hole by the explosion and were about to fall, carrying with them still more 
areas of the fresco. The condition of the Marriage in Cana was similarlv threat- 
ening. Consolidation of the masonry was urgent. Niccoli therefore decided to 
send his restorer, Dalmas, with provisions for a long stay, to undertake the 
work, under the supendsion of Prof. Enzo Carli, director of the Siena gallery. 

Tired of the c-rations we usually brought with us, we decided after this un- 
happy morning to try our luck on a hot lunch at the Albergo Cisterna. To our 

{ 12 } 


astonishment the place looked as if nothing had happened. When we emerged 
onto the terrace restaurant which looks over the countryside it was just as 
I had seen it before the war, crowded with the same elderly English spinsters 
enjoying the food and the wonderful view. The only additions were a sprinkling 
of French officers and French wag’s. We had an excellent lunch. 

We spent the afternoon examining the damaged monuments of the town, 
particularly the frescoes in the Collegiata. It was apparent that the shaken 
masonry would have to be dismantled, stone by stone, the stones numbered, 
and rebuilt, and that the bulging frescoes would have to be anchored to the 
walls with injections of plaster in order to prevent collapse. At the same time 
the rubble on the floor must be picked up with meticulous care to save whatever 
could be pieced together from the fragments of the missing group. With the 
aid of photographs these pieces could be identified and reattached insofar as 
possible in their original positions. The new roofing was to be left to Engineer 
Simonelli, who had already begun work on it, but the reconstruction of the 
vaulting of the Collegiata could safely be deferred for a while. The one prob- 
lem thus far insoluble was the provision of any sort of covering for the empty 
windows. No glass was obtainable, and the mediaeval windows were so small 
that even a partial covering of opaque materials would have made the interior 
too dark for any work of restoration to be carried on inside. It might be weeks 
before the electric current could be restored in that sector. 

Actually our troubles at San Gimignano continued all winter. It proved 
almost impossible to get tiles to cover the roof of the Collegiata, and sometimes 
I entered the church to find parts of the floor ankle deep in water. Not until 
December was the roof completed. But on the evening of December 22 a high 
wind precipitated an alarming situation which we had not at first suspected. 
The Trecento frescoes had been painted right over the three original aisle win- 
dows which had been blocked up by flimsy walls of brick. One of these walls, 
severely shaken by the shelling, fell inward under tire force of the wind, car- 
rying with it a large section of the already badly damaged Flight into Egypt, 
and the other two windows, each of which contained sections of four different 
scenes, began to bulge horribly. Restoration, which had started with the patch- 
ing of the Crucifixion but had been stopped on account of the intense cold and 
dampness, had to begin again. The masonry of the windows was replaced from 
the outside and the threatened frescoes propped from within, but the final 
solution of this exasperating problem was achieved only some time after the 
departure of amg. 

After the afternoon’s work, and assurances from Captain Waugh that Niccoli 
and Dalmas could start their operations at once, we returned to Siena. The 

{ B } 


following morning Franco and I started on another journey, to the ancient 
Etruscan citadel of Volterra, the principal town of the southern half of Pisa 
Province, and not more than twenty miles from Colle di Val d’Elsa, thence to 
Massa Marittima in Grosseto Province, and from there to remote sites in the 
hills west of Siena. As we traveled the sunlit road from Massa Marittima we 
often came upon burnt-out tanks or ruined vehicles, abandoned to the quiet of 
the forests, which in many places were charred brown by the flash of artillery 
and overhung with the stench of death. 

At a turning in the road we unexpectedly emerged on the flank of a mountain 
to behold a view of such beauty as I have seldom seen. It was a spectacle of 
magical, almost supernatural perfection. Unusually bright and clear, the sky 
arched over a world of hazeless hills, each summit sharp and palpable in the 
glassy air. Half of Tuscany lay before us. On the other side of the German 
lines, more than sixty miles away, the mountains above Florence cut the 
horizon. Even farther to the west the phenomenal clarity of the atmosphere 
rendered the marble peaks of the Apuan Alps beyond Carrara distinctly visible, 
while the broad bulk of the Pratomagno above Arezzo to the east was dappled 
by the blue shadows of the motionless clouds. Set in the middle was Siena, 
easily ten miles from us, but seeming almost at our hand — the flashing cam- 
panile of the cathedral, the empty marble arch of the unfinished facade of the 
Duomo Nuovo, the slender Torre di Mangia, all perfectly distinct. No slightest 
sign betrayed the existence of desperate warfare in the midst of this enchanted 

{ M } 



An unlooked for circumstance brought me on July 27 to Eighth Army 
j \ headquarters, two hot encampments near Castiglione del Lago, leaving 
jL Franco at regional headquarters in Orvieto. Major Newton had pro- 
posed that I be attached on temporary duty to Eighth Army amg so as to be 
among the earliest of the amg officers in Florence. He was to enter the city 
with the first team, and I was to come up with the so-called “first follow-up 
party,” a few hours or a few days later. The opportunity of being able to get 
to work in Florence at once, backed by Eighth Army authority, outweighed 
all other considerations. 

It is only with difficulty that I can now convince myself that my stay at 
Castiglione del Lago lasted only four days. Time dragged. Since at any moment 
orders might come for us to move up to Florence, Group Captain Benson ad- 
vised us to take no trips that might cause us to be away when the call came. 
Major Newton had scarcely left his tent in days, and the atmosphere of tension 
and suspense on all sides was almost intolerable. Capt. Roger Ellis, a brilliant 
young archivist from tire Records Office in London, with a wide knowledge 
of art, was Major Newton’s assistant. We three were to form the mf.\a team 
in the early days of the liberation of Florence. 

The happy escapes of Rome and Siena, the restricted character of the dam- 
age to southern Tuscany, and Hitler’s declaration of Florence as an open city 
had lulled everyone into the belief that Florence would be taken intact. The 
only urgent problem, therefore, seemed that of preventing the occupation of 
structures whose artistic contents could be damaged by troops. In anticipation 
of the great moment, we were to prepare an e.xtended list of all the palaces in 
Florence that were not under any circumstances to be requisitioned, and an- 
other of those which we might relinquish for use as offices, or other special 
purposes. This was done at the request of 71 Garrison, the occupying military 
unit, whose Town Major (the officer responsible for all requisitions of real 
estate) had read in the Ust of Protected Monuments that the entire city of 
Florence was to be considered a work of art of the first order, and that no 
requisitions were to be made without the authority of officers. 

Fortunately for the Florentine monuments, the Town Major took this phrase 
literally and wanted an exhaustive and precise list. We therefore sat day after 
day under the tree before Major Newton’s tent combing our guidebooks and 
our memories. Thus while Captain Keller was working valiantly to salvage 

{ 15 } 


the great Labronica Library in Livorno, village after village on the outskirts 
of Florence was falling to Allied troops with no mfaa officer on hand. 

It was thought that the question of the deposits of Florentine art could be 
solved only when we made direct contact with the Superintendency of Florence, 
which everyone expected in short order. We had been provided with a list 
of these deposits by the officials of the Ministry in Rome, very shortly after 
the liberation of the capital, but we had also been told that, although almost 
the entire contents of the Florentine museums had originally been evacuated 
to castles and villas surrounding the city. Hitler’s declaration had led the 
Florentine Superintendency to move them all back again. Therefore, on the 
basis of the latest information available at the disorganized Ministry, the list 
was to be disregarded. The events of the next three weeks were to show how 
mistaken the officials in Rome were, and how erroneous was the policy of 
waiting for the capture of Florence rather than moving up with the troops. 
Neither the Allies nor the Germans nor the Florentines themselves were cor- 
rect in their predictions regarding the fate of the city. 

At breakfast on the morning of July 31 the officers’ mess of Eighth Army 
AMG was electrified by an astonishing announcement by the British Broad- 
casting Company. Outside Florence, in the midst of the fiercest fighting of 
the war in Italy, a correspondent had stumbled unawares on a group of the 
greatest masterpieces from the Uffizi and Pitti Galleries. Works by Raphael, 
Botticelli, Giotto, Cimabue, Duccio lay covered with dust, unprotected, one 
against another in a villa in one of the hottest sections of the front, rocked 
by artillery and small arms fire. The policy of inaction came to an abrupt close. 
I was at once ordered by the Group Captain to proceed to the area, take charge 
of the deposit in the name of Eighth Army, and come back and report. I was 
provided with a jeep and a driver and in a few minutes I departed, armed and 
helmeted, for the front. I was at first under the impression that the villa was 
at San Michele in Torri, a tiny village near Florence which had figured largely 
in the earlier portion of the broadcast, being the scene of the most savage 
hand-to-hand fighting. I had moreover chosen a road which looked clear on 
the situation map at Eighth Army headquarters but which later turned out 
not to have been captured. Finally, I had rushed off with only enough cloth- 
ing and equipment for a day’s trip. I was to regret all tliree of these errors. 

Rapidly the familiar places went by, in unusually light traffic. We passed 
Cortona on its promontory, with the morning sun just catching the tips of 
its roofs and towers; then the slender towers of the castle of Montecchio, like 
a detail from a Fra Angelico background; then the damaged town of Cas- 
tiglion Fiorentino, still perfectly grouped around the summit of its dome- 
shaped hill; then Arezzo, around which all traffic was still rerouted; then the 

{ 16 } 


long Arno valley, dominated by the Pratomagno from which came the steady 
thunder of German artillery. We circumnavigated the ruins of the poor little 
village of Levane, completely blown up by the Germans, sped through the in- 
dustrial cities of Montevarchi and San Giovanni Valdarno, and headed for 
our crossroad beyond Figline. Before this town, however, we were turned back 
by heavy artillery fire and the disquieting fact that neither the town nor the 
road had yet been taken. We thus had to choose wild roads through the hills, 
passing through the territories of four different British and Empire divisions, 
inquiring at each divisional headquarters about the mihtary situation. 

The last stretch led us through the worst country I have ever traveled, but 
somehow we came out onto the Via Cassia near Tavarnelle and found our 
way by nightfall to the Eighth Anmy press camp at San Donato in Poggio. 
The hills beyond, sloping down toward Florence, shook continuously with 
gunfire in the darkness while their ridges stood out fitfully against the constant 
flashes of the artillery. At the press camp I met the novelist, Eric Linklater, and 
Vaughan Thomas, the bbc correspondent. That night they told me the story 
of how they had run onto the villa and its incredible contents. 

Contrary to the reports of the authorities in Rome, the great works of art 
from the Florentine galleries and churches were still outside the city. We found 
later on that there were no fewer than thirty-seven of these deposits, only some 
ten or twelve of which had been evacuated to Florence before the Allied 
bombing and strafing of the roads and the German refusal to provide either 
transportation or fuel made any further movement impossible. The greater 
part of the entire art treasure of Florence was therefore still in these hilltop 
refuges, ideal for protection against bombardment yet conspicuous targets for 
artillery. Major Linklater and Vaughan Thomas had seen four of the deposits, 
the castle of Montegufoni (a former Acciaioli stronghold long the property 
of the Sitwells), the Villa Bossi-Pucci at Montagnana, and the Villa Guicciar- 
dini and Castello Guidi at Poppiano. All of these were within sight of each 
other and of San Michele in Torri, where the battle was still raging. 

At Montegufoni and Montagnana were stored a series of the finest pictures 
from the Ufiizi and the Pitti, some altarpieces from Florentine churches, and 
almost the entire contents of the Museo San Marco and the picture gallery' of 
the Accademia — approximately a fifth of the paintings in Florence. In the 
two deposits at Poppiano were the hundreds of pictures exhibited at the Mostra 
del Cinquecento, the ill-fated show held for so short a period in Florence in 
June 1940. Since arrangements for the return of the pictures had been cut 
short by the war, every important sixteenth century Tuscan picture from 
Italian collections, and indeed many from foreign countries as well, filled 
these two buildings. In addition to the custodians who had accepted legal re- 

i 17 } 


sponsibility for these incalculably precious treasures, an official from the Super- 
intendency had come up from Florence on foot to supervise the four villas and 
hand them over to the advancing Allies. He was Prof. Cesare Fasola, librarian 
of the Uffizi Gallery, as devoted, selfless, and fearless an official as I was ever 
to meet in Italy. 

Early in the morning of August i we started off for Montegufoni, on a wind- 
ing road with wonderful views into a landscape of endless low hills, each 
crowned with a villa or a group of houses surrounded by cypresses. The land- 
scape, for all its resemblance to the frescoes of Gozzoli, vibrated incessantly 
to the sound of the guns around Florence. Montegufoni, an almost exact minia- 
ture of the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, was extended in the broad style of 
the Tuscan Seicento and set in magnificent Baroque gardens and massed 
cypresses. The villa was then occupied by the First Battalion, Mahratta Light 
Infantry, Eighth Indian Division. Less than three miles away stood the gutted 
wreck of San Michele in Torri, the sun shining through its shell perforations. 

During that day, as Professor Fasola led us about the incredible collection 
at Montegufoni, the hillside shook with the thunder of the British guns placed 
all around us, and an occasional German shell screamed overhead to explode 
nearby among the vineyards and cypresses. At every staircase in the villa Indian 
sentries, black, quiet, and immaculately uniformed, snapped to attention. The 
custodian turned a huge key in the Baroque door of the salone off the courtyard, 
the sunlight streamed into a dark, vaulted hall and fell on the Primavera of 
Botticelli leaning against the wall. The high shutters were then opened, and 
the room was seen to be filled with pictures, lining the walls two and three deep 
and leaning against a rack built in the center. On the left of the doorway An- 
drea del Sarto’s Annunciation from the Pitti stood in all its harmony of muted 
color, the angel gazing quietly upward at Mary against the tranquil architec- 
ture and the Florentine landscape. Farther down the wall rose the majestic 
figure of Giotto's Madonna from the Uffizi, seated on her marble throne, her 
gold background glowing in the half-light. Over the tops of other pictures 
rose the still Byzantine head of the Cimabue Madonna. Down the line of care- 
fully stacked pictures I could make out the Supper at Emmaus by Pontormo, 
Rubens’ Nymphs and Satyrs, and an Enthroned Madonna by Botticelli. Still 
farther the sunlight touched the armor and spears of Paolo Uccello’s Battle of 
San Romano. Although we did not know it, the undulating fields of San 
Romano, scarcely twenty miles away down the Arno valley, were at that 
moment the scene of another and very different type of battle, with little 
chivalry or armor and unlimited quantities of barbed wire and high explosives. 

In the same room stood Raphael’s Madonna del Baldacchino from the Pitti 
and the Descent from the Cross, from the Uffizi, by Perugino and Filippino 

( 18 } 


Lippi. Lying on a huge table in the adjoining room was Botticelli’s Coronation 
of the Virgin. Everywhere were stacked primitives from the Accademia: Ma- 
donnas, Crucifixions, saints, huge altarpieces with gilded pinnacles. In mal- 
odorous contrast to the chaste art of Fra Angelico was the unmistakable 
evidence that the Germans had used the dark corridor containing eight of 
his pictures as a latrine. Room after room was jammed with pictures, and 
in the last and largest lay Ghirlandaio’s circular Adoration of the Magi. The 
Germans had used it as a table top, and had answered Fasola’s request that 
they remove their bottle and glasses by flicking a sheath knife into the pic- 
ture. It pierced the sky, but it could just as easily have cut away some of 
the heads. The same room contained the important series of Dugento Crosses 
from the Accademia. Finally we were led into a smaller room off the entrance 
court, one wall of which was almost filled by the immense Rucellai Madonna 
from Santa Maria Novella, an awesome presence in the dim chamber. 

A description of these pictures would constitute a history of Italian painting. 
There were 246 of them, representing every period and almost every painter. 
They were in immediate danger, for these deposits were all pathetically ex- 
posed to shellfire. The promptness of Major General Russell, the divisional 
commander, in placing a guard upon the pictures at once, under combat con- 
ditions, was beyond praise, and his thoroughness as well as the traditional dis- 
cipline of the Indians insured that no damage was done to the collections by 
Allied troops. Nonetheless, only the further progress of the exasperatingly 
slow Eighth Army advance through the Tuscan hills could save the pictures 
from the constant menace of destruction. 

Professor Fasola had come up from Florence, on foot, without any German 
permit, during the last days of the occupation. Until constant shellfire made 
movement on the roads impossible, he had gone from one deposit to the next 
constantly looking after the condition of every room and every picture. Ger- 
man service and headquarters units had been orderly and had obeyed the Off 
Limits signs over Kesselring’s signature (furnished by Professor Heydenreich, 
the last director of the German Art Historical Institute in Florence, and an 
official of the German Knnstschutz organization). In the course of the retreat, 
however, these units had been replaced by paratroopers and SS groups of the 
utmost brutality. They had committed numerous depredations about the coun- 
tryside, had broken open the doors of the rooms that sheltered the paintings, 
scattered pictures and furniture about, and had threatened over and over to 
set fire to everything. More than once Professor Fasola himself had kept the 
soldiers from the pictures. In addition, the lower portions of the castle were 
swarming with pitiable refugees from Signa, Lastra a Signa, Montelupo, and 
other towns where the heavy fighting was now going on. Under such 

{ 19 ) 



ditions Fasola had to maintain order and some semblance of cleanliness 
throughout the enormous collection. 

Yet conditions at Montagnana were even worse. Here Fasola had arrived 
from Florence to find a scene of complete desolation. The villa was deserted, 
its custodian and his family driven away by the Germans. On the floor, or piled 
loosely against the wall, covered with layers of filth, lay only a few of the nearly 
three hundred pictures that had been housed there. The upper rooms of the 
house were filled with the furniture which had been systematically smashed 
by the Germans until not a table leg remained in one piece. The wreckage 
was adorned with the usual German accompaniment of human excrement. 
The other pictures were gone, 297 of them — Giovanni Bellini’s Pieta from the 
Uf&zi, Botticelli’s Pallas and the Centaur, five paintiugs by Piero di Cosimo 
and four altarpieces by Fihppo Lippi, the two tiny Labors of Hercules by Pol- 
laiuolo, Signorelli’s Crucifixion, Roger van der Weyden’s 'Entombment, all 
from the Uffizi, and from the Pitti Palace Pontormo’s Martyrdom of St. Mau- 
rice and the Theban Legion, and Tintoretto’s 'Venus, Amor, and Vulcan, to 
mention only a few of the most outstanding. At one blow at least an eighth 
of the most prized contents of the Uffizi and the Pitti had vanished. One re- 
members almost with amusement the hue and cry when the Mona Lisa dis- 
appeared from the Louvre, or when Watteau’s LTndi-Qerent was stolen. Never 
in modern history had there been such a sack as this. Worse, owing to the 
proximity of Montagnana to Florence these pictures had been brought to the 
villa in padded vans without boxes or crates. The Germans therefore had 
moved them away uncrated, in military trucks. The state of the remaining 
rooms and the way the few pictures left had been tossed about, together with 
the fact that some of the most important things, such as Ambrogio Lorenzetti’s 
Presentation in the Temple had been abandoned, gave small hope that the 
paintings had been taken by anyone who understood them or knew how to 
handle them. The unit responsible was, as we later discovered, the 562nd In- 
fantry Division under the command of General Greiner. 

The full narrative of what had happened at Montagnana we reconstructed 
only months later, when we came into possession of the archives of the German 
Kunstschutz. While we were coming up from the south, working in the liber- 
ated areas of Tuscany, the devoted Professor Heydenreich, who under the 
Kunstschutz had charge of the protection of monuments and works of art in 
Tuscany and of whom we heard nothing but good, had intervened with the 
Militarfommandantur for military transport and fuel so that the contents of 
some of the deposits of the Mugello, at the foot of the Gothic Line, could be 
brought back to Florence. Furthermore, when it became necessary for the 
Germans to reopen the abandoned railway tunnel at Incisa in the Valdarno 

{ 20 } 


just north of Figline, it was Heydenreich who aided the Superintendency in 
the withdrawal of the contents, which included, among other things, the 
bronze doors of the baptistery of Florence. 

These transports had had to stop, because in the end neither the Germans nor 
the Italian Fascist military units would provide any more transportation or 
gasoline; indeed, since February the better of the two trucks that the Super- 
intendency possessed had been requisitioned by the Germans. Nevertheless, 
on June 15, 1944, an order was issued by the Fascist Ministry of Education in 
Padua^ for all the principal works of art of Siena and Florence to be transferred 
at once to northern Italy. Professor Anti, the general director, was charged 
with its execution, and he came to Florence on June 18 for that purpose. At 
a memorable meeting in Palazzo Pitti, attended by all the chief Superintendency 
persoimel and by the German military authorities. Anti was convinced that it 
was materially impossible to carry out his orders, for the Germans declared 
themselves unable to provide any trucks or gasoline, and the Italians had none. 
It was the unanimous agreement of those present that the works of art should 
stay where they were or, in case of direst necessity, should be brought to Flor- 
ence. An official report made to us by Comm. Giovanni Poggi, the revered 
superintendent for the provinces of Florence, Pistoia, and Arezzo, preserves 
the story of the succeeding events: 

“On July 4, 1944, I was called by Counsellor Metzner of the Militdr\om- 
mandantur, who asked me if there were any works of art in the villa of Mon- 
tagnana so important that they should be transported, for security reasons, 
beyond the Apennines. A little surprised by the abrupt question, I answered 
that there were indeed works of art of great importance at Montagnana, com- 
ing from the galleries and museums of the State, but that according to agree- 
ments previously made between the General Direction of Fine Arts and the 
office of Colonel Langsdorff" it was decided, as in the case of the other deposits, 
to remove nothing, unless in case of urgent danger, and then only to transport 
the paintings to Florence and not beyond the Apennines. 

“The counsellor replied, ‘Then you refuse our offer,’ and I answered, ‘We 
do not refuse it, indeed we are most grateful for it; we accept it in case it be- 
comes necessary to transport these works to Florence.' I immediately informed 
the German consul, Wolf, of this conversation. A few days later he communi- 
cated to me that he had been advised by a mihtary unit that 257 paintings 
had been taken by truck from the deposit of Montagnana to a village twenty 
kilometers south of Modena, a village which later information identified as 
Marano. I expressed at once my shock at a transport which had taken place 
without our knowledge and without our help, so much so that Consul Wolf, 

^ Seat of the Republican Fascist government. 

"Head of the Kitnstschittz. German equivalent of our mfaa. 

i 21 } 


much impressed, deemed it advisable to bring Colonel Langsdorff immediately 
from Verona to Florence in order to take charge of the affair. Langsdorff ar- 
rived in fact on July 17 and I informed him of everything, asking him to try 
to find out at once where the precious paintings had gone and, as soon as pos- 
sible, to bring them back to Florence. 

“In the meantime I had been able to determine that the transport of the 
paintings had taken place in the first days of July, perhaps the second or third, 
that is before the interview with Counsellor Metzner which too\ place the 
fourth [italics Poggi’s]. Langsdorff asked me for a memorandum with a list 
of the pictures w'hich were at Montagnana; when, however, I brought it to 
the Hotel Excelsior where the Colonel had been staying — and this was the 
nineteenth of July — I found that he had left Florence a few hours before. In 
fact, that afternoon the German military and civilian authorities began to 
leave the city. 

“In a letter of July 20 I was therefore able to inform Prof. Carlo Anti, Gen- 
eral Director of Fine Arts at Padua, of what had happened. . . .” 

The same Germans who declared on June 18 that they had no trucks to give 
were able on July 2 to transport 297 pictures, some of them enormous altar- 
pieces, without the approval, help, or even knowledge of the Superintendency. 
What neither Poggi nor Anti knew was that Langsdorff, on the same day 
as his solemn agreement with the Italians in the Palazzo Pitti, wired to the Ger- 
man Military Government headquarters, for the information of the SS 
Commanding General Wolff, that he was taking personal charge of all deposits 
and directing evacuation measures by German troops! 

Montagnana was, at the moment of my first visit, under enemy shellfire, so 
we proceeded from Montegufoni to Poppiano in the intense noon heat. Here 
the Villa Guicciardini had received a direct shell hit on one corner, reducing 
to shambles one of the principal rooms. The New Zealand soldiers here w'ere 
by no means so meticulous as the Indians and had knocked down Pontormo’s 
Visitation from Carmignano, so that when the shell burst, the picture received 
the full weight of the falling rubble from the crumpled upper floor. There- 
after they tramped over die altarpiece with their hobnailed boots, grinding 
the plaster and brick dust into the surface of the picture. It is a tribute to the 
durability of Cinquecento panel painting that there was anything left. The 
day before my arrival Vaughan Thomas had labored with Fasola to clear off 
the rubble and lift the damaged masterpiece to comparative safety. The pic- 
ture seemed in frightful condition. Parts of it were unrecognizable. Appar- 
ently the plaster had been ground into the color, and in other places the color 
removed to lay bare the underlying gesso. But later the delicate cleaning in the 
Gabinetto dei Restawl showed that only a few portions of the surface, mostly 
in the drapery, had been really badly damaged. The ground-in dirt was care- 

{ 22 } 


fully washed off and the varnish removed to show that the plaster and dust had 
not penetrated to the pigment and that the surface was only here and there 
disfigured by deep gouges. 

In the same room was Rosso Fiorentino’s Descent from the Cross, whose ab- 
sence I had noticed in Vol terra ten days before, very dusty from the shellburst 
and also slightly scratched. Even more impressive in the middle of all 
the rubble, dirt, and disorder of the villa was the haunting beauty of Pontormo’s 
uninjured Deposition from Santa Felicita in Florence, whose grief-stricken 
figures seemed to soar above the desolation in an unearthly realm of silver light 
and rose and green shadows. The visitors who came in such hundreds to see 
the Studiolo of Francesco I de’ Medici in the Palazzo Vecchio would have 
been most surprised if they could have beheld the paintings which form the 
walls of that little jewel box, scattered about the chapel of the Villa Guicciar- 
dini, some pushed to the floor by the New Zealanders. 

I now made the acquaintance of a man who was to be of help throughout 
my stay in Tuscany, a member of the British Military Police, Captain Roberson. 
He had appeared with Italian civilian police guards, already requested by 
Vaughan Thomas, and together we all began the long job of moving the pic- 
tures out of the damaged room and into a place of greater safety. Leaving 
Captain Roberson and Professor Fasola at the villa, 1 later went down the hill 
to the Castello Guidi, where as yet no disasters had occurred, save for two small 
and unimportant sixteenth century canvases which had been slashed by a New 
Zealand soldier. It was a relief to walk through undamaged rooms, but the 
appearance of security soon proved to be illusory. The main tower of the 
castle was being used as the observation post for an artillery battalion attached 
to the New Zealand division, directing all fire in the area. 

I immediately conferred with the battalion commander, who advised me 
to try to evacuate the pictures at once. As soon as the Germans discovered the 
OP, he stated, the village would be plastered. In the early evening Vaughan 
Thomas and I visited the neighboring Indian Brigade headquarters, where 
the operations officer at first promised us trucks and m.en. onlv to tell us later 
that we could not use the roads, as an attack was to be launched over them 
that evening. So the pictures had to be left where they were. As luck would 
have it, however, the New Zealanders left the following day, and no shell ever 
hit Castello Guidi. 

We were all deeply concerned with the problem of guarding these deposits 
to prevent any repetition of the thoughtless damage caused bv the New Zea- 
landers. Captain Roberson's Italian police would prevent anv harm from civilian 
marauders, but a military guard was essential. This had to come from a head- 
quarters higher than the continually shifting divisions. I therefore wrote 

{ 23 } 


a secret letter for Vaughan Thomas to present next morning to the aide-de- 
camp to Lieutenant General Leese, the Eighth Army commander, whose tiny 
encampment was on a hillside near San Donato in Poggio. In this rather un- 
conventional letter, entirely out of military channels, I requested guards not 
only for the liberated deposits but for those which might be found later, and 
supplied a list of all those we knew anything about, with approximate map 

Late though it was, I had to return to Castiglione del Lago that night and 
report to Major Newton and Group Captain Benson. The urgency of the prob- 
lem of the deposits was far beyond anything we had yet encountered in Tus- 
cany, even the disaster at San Gimignano. I wanted to be detached from the 
Florence team, which could perfectly well be handled by two oflEcers, be 
assigned the job of the deposits, and be the first to reach each one before there 
was time for much damage by troops. I could then make the reports, set the 
guards, and take any measures possible for safeguarding the Florentine treas- 

After a late supper at the press camp the driver and I, tired to the bone, set 
out on the ninety-mile trip. The evening was wonderfully cool and clear, and 
a high moon, almost at the full, compensated for the fact that we could use no 
lights in this combat zone. The events of the past two days, combined with 
apprehension over the fate of the deposits, filled my tired brain with a fantastic 
confusion of images as the Via Cassia swept us over the Florentine hills, past 
the silent, deserted ruins of Poggibonsi, around the walls and towers of Staggia, 
through the mediaeval streets of Siena, and off into the desolate world of barren 
hills and wide, dry valleys opening out toward the familiar cone of Mount 
Amiata. This mournful landscape, the magical background of Giovanni di 
Paolo’s pictures, seemed more wild and melancholy than ever in the moonlight. 

The curves of the Arbia were marked only by their misty poplars and wil- 
lows. At Buonconvento the Bailey bridge substitute for the destroyed mediaeval 
bridge was for northbound trafBc only, so we took the detour which had been 
bulldozed through the fields. The jeep churned up enormous clouds of dry dust 
which boiled around and above us, choking white and luminous in the moon- 
light. Blinded by dust we missed the turning beyond Buonconvento, and lost 
our way on country roads. Only after half an hour did we come to a straight- 
away which gave promise of leading to a bridge across the Arbia. Too tired 
to think clearly, the driver again took a wrong turn and we charged up an 
embankment leading to a blown bridge. The brakes were defective, but miracu- 
lously we stopped on the jagged edge of the smashed abutment. The front 
wheels were exactly even with the edge, and we looked down thirty-five feet 
to the mass of rubble reposing on the dried river bed, and up to the distant 

{ 24 } 


black hill on which the towers of San Quirico were silhouetted against the 

We proceeded without further mishap as far as Montepulciano, our last ob- 
stacle before emerging into the plain of Lake Trasimeno. But at the top of 
Montepulciano hill, at two-thirty in the morning, our defective brakes gave 
out entirely and we had to spend the rest of the chilly night curled up in the 
jeep until I could hitch-hike to Castiglione for help. 

I had small difficulty in persuading the Group Captain and Major Newton 
to agree to my plan, and thus temporarily exchanged my job as regional mfaa 
officer for a post far in advance of army amg. Since my jeep and driver were 
still immobilized in Montepulciano, I was given Captain Ellis’s jeep, a fine 
vehicle rejoicing in the name of “Georgette.” The driver, Pfc. Howard, was a 
stocky taciturn ex-infantryman from the West Virginia hills, excellent both 
as driver and mechanic. As soon as I had cleaned off the grime of forty-eight 
hours of mined and shell-torn roads we started out again, arriving at San 
Donato in Poggio in the early evening. The next morning General Leese’s aide 
informed me that the General had approved my request for guards, which were 
to be supplied at once. As a matter of fact, this policy was continued later when 
the area came under Fifth Army, and not until November were the last guards 
removed from the deposits in the area around Montegufoni. The aide also 
informed us that we had been invited to lunch at General Leese’s mess the 
following day to meet General Alexander, then Commander-in-Chief, Allied 
Armies in Italy, and accompany him through the collection at Montegufoni. 

That same afternoon Howard and I moved into the castle of Montegufoni. 
The picmresque Mahratta battalion had already left for the assault on Flor- 
ence, to be replaced by a small guard unit under the command of a young 
British lieutenant. I chose a large room with a gigantic four-poster Seicento 
bed and a view out over the valley to the towers and cypresses of Poppiano. 
Directly below this room was the salone containing the largest of the pictures. 
Water had ceased to flow in the absence of electricity to work the pump. Light 
was furnished by whatever candles we could steal. Meals were sketchy at first, 
until through the good offices of the custodian we discovered an old peasant 
woman to cook for us. It was more than a month before I was to move my 
belongings from this room again — a month of wild trips on dusty, traffic- 
packed roads, a month of shellfire and ruin, a month of work and worry 
and grief as one shattered monument after another, one rifled deposit after 
another, demanded help that was almost impossible to give; a month of un- 
speakable fatigue and sleepless nights, looking from my window down the 
hill into the crowding cypresses of the Baroque gardens, while the countryside 
trembled from the guns all night long. 

{ 25 } 


Though I did not know it, the first night we spent in Montegufoni was the 
night in which the Germans blew up the bridges of Florence and eviscerated 
the mediaeval city. No exact reports were forthcoming in the morning at the 
press camp, but it was known that New Zealand units had already entered 
the portion of the city lying on the south bank of the Arno, that the city was 
divided between the opposing armies by the destruction of the bridges, and 
that there was fierce machine-gun fire from bank to bank. So ended our 
hopes that Florence would be spared! The wonderful city, the birthplace and 
nucleus of the Renaissance, lay a victim of the conflict we had felt sure would 
pass it by. Yet not until my own entrance into Florence on August 13 did I 
begin to realize the full extent of the tragedy. 

After lunch the next day. General Alexander, his chief-of -staff. Lieutenant 
General Harding, and several of his aides, started off with Vaughan Thomas 
and me to Montegufoni, in spite of warnings against the dangers of the area. 
Three open jeeps had been prepared for the party, undecorated save for a tiny 
Union Jack on the nose of the lead vehicle, driven by Alexander himself, four 
rows of ribbons glittering on his grey bush jacket. We arrived covered with 
dust and Professor Fasola was there to receive us. The General greeted the 
refugees and peasants who had gathered about the castle and shook hands 
warmly with Fasola, congratulating him on his devotion to duty. Then for 
two hours we walked about the collection. The General wanted to see each 
room and wished an explanation of every picture. He had a considerable knowl- 
edge of art, and although his favorite period was French Impressionism he was 
much interested in the Renaissance and enjoyed particularly the Primavera. 
Before leaving, he expressed his willingness to do everything possible to aid our 
work. I never had the honor of seeing General Alexander again, but I more 
than once had cause to thank him for his interest in the mfaa officers and their 

The following day Howard and I went on one of our most harrowing trips, 
to the deposit of 284 pieces of sculpture from the Uffizi Gallery, housed in an 
eleventh century castle, called Torre del Castellano, opposite Incisa in a curve 
of the Arno above Figline, which by this time the Eighth Army advance had 
left in the rear. Torre del Castellano contained much of the Greek, Hellenistic, 
and Roman sculpture from the Medici collections, as well as numerous portrait 
busts of the Medici family. Perhaps the most important objects there were the 
series of the Children of Niobe. We arrived at Figline across the same hill road 
that had not yet been taken when I first came up to Montegufoni, and found 
that the bridge across the Arno at Incisa, destroyed by the Germans, had not 
yet been replaced. We therefore forded the stream at a shallow spot and pro- 

( 26 } 


ceeded toward the castle on the hill above us on roads that were just being de- 
mined as we moved slowly up, along with the advancing British tanks and 

On arrival at the foot of the hill on which the castle stood we found that its 
immense mass, two towers united by a central building block, was being used 
as defilade for the British guns firing over it, while German artillery was trained 
on a road junction about a hundred yards farther to the left. Every few minutes 
columns of dust and smoke rose to indicate a hit, but no individual shots or 
explosions could be distinguished in the unbelievable din, echoed and magnified 
by the steep walls of the gorge through which the Arno passes at Incisa. The 
whole landscape had been splattered by bombs intended for the Incisa cement 
factory, and the famous railway tunnel, which once had housed the Florentine 
baptistery doors, had been hit again and again. The jeep could go no farther, 
so I had Howard place it in an already de-mined spot on the shoulder of the 
road against the hill, out of direct danger from shellfire, and promised to come 
back and get us both out of there as soon as possible. Crouching and crawling 
to the top of the hill, I made a dash along the exposed skyline and reached the 

The noise of the battle had reached such a pitch that only with the greatest 
difficulty could the owner. Signor Pegna, give me any information. The Ger- 
mans had left the castle only the preceding day, leaving behind the usual sort 
of damage. The deposit was wailed up and probably intact, and there had 
been no attempt to disturb it. But the rooms which contained the sculpture 
were unfortunately on the north side of the castle, exposed to the artillery fire 
all around us. Actually the deposit was never much damaged, but it was many 
weeks before I could fulfill my promise to send Italian officials to take care of 

Meanwhile the situation in Florence was so desperate that Group Captain 
Benson would permit only the most essential amg officers in the city. German 
shells were falling all over the liberated Oltrarno district, and civilians and 
Allied troops were being killed constantly. There was no water, very little 
food, and thousands of refugees, so the problem of feeding and bringing medi- 
cal supplies to the population under these appalling conditions took precedence 
over everything else. Public safety, welfare, and medical officers were allowed 
in the town, but the old plan of a concerted mfaa team, to which so much had 
been sacrificed, had gone glimmering. The Group Captain, aware of the new 
magnitude of the work in the deposits, made arrangements to have other of- 
ficers and Italian authorities come up from Rome to Montegufoni. Major 
DeWald came for a week. Capt. Sheldon Pennoyer, an American painter who 

( 27 } 


was responsible for the photographic work of the Subcommission, and Capt. 
Roderick Enthoven, a British architect, were to stay in the castle, working 
with Dr. Giorgio Castelfranco, former director of the Pitti Gallery, exiled by 
Fascism, and Dr. Emilio Lavagnino, one of the most prominent Italian art 
historians, both from the Ministry of Public Instruction. Later Col. Henry 
Newton from shaef arrived for a couple of days with his assistant. Lieutenant 
Lippmann. Eventually Captain Ellis came to stay, to take charge of all the 
archives in the region. 

According to the new plan I was to continue making the first visits to all 
the deposits, taking whatever action was necessary, with the authority of Eighth 
Army. Then the careful checking of the contents, object by object, would be 
done by teams composed of one Allied and one Italian ofl&cial. The Italians 
had brought with them from Rome the inventories of the supposed contents 
of each deposit, inventories which I had sought in vain in the early days of 
the liberation of the capital. In addition I had taken a flying trip to Siena to 
persuade Colonel Kirkwood of the urgent need for more transportation, so 
I returned with “Lucky” and Franco, thenceforward permanent members of 
my staff, and was able to restore to Captain Ellis his borrowed “Georgette.” 

With the greatly increased going and coming at Montegufoni, sometimes 
as many as fourteen people at once, the dinners became huge family parties. 
Officers, enlisted men, Italian officials, and Italian drivers sat down together. 
For most of us lunch was a can of c-rations in a ditch, but dinner, once we had 
bathed in the huge earthenware pot that served as a tub, was a pleasant affair. 
Our peasant woman proved an excellent cook, and her hearty, Tuscan meals 
were washed down with many a glass of good Chianti. Although the Italians 
generally excused themselves early, many of us remained to talk, to walk about 
the gardens, or to climb the great tower and look across the hills to the con- 
tinuous blaze of artillery fire that indicated the presence of the Arno, along 
which the war was now stabilized. In spite of the Allied guns all around us and 
the German shells falling intermittently in the vicinity, I usually fell asleep at 
once from sheer exhaustion. By two or three, however, I was generally wide 
awake, planning the trip for the ne.xt day, obsessed with worry over the deposits 
we had not yet reached and over the fate of Florence. 

On August 7 Franco and I started off for one of the most important deposits 
of all, the villa of La Torre a Cona which, according to the information re- 
ceived at the press camp, should already have been liberated. The villa, property 
of Count Rossi (of Martini and Rossi), was a large, seventeenth century build- 
ing surrounded by vineyards. The inventory was spectacular, listing the com- 
plete series of statues by Michelangelo from the Medici tombs in San Lorenzo, 
the colossal statues of Prophets by Donatello and others from the campanile 

/ 25 } 


of the Duomo of Florence, the two cantorie by Donatello and by Luca della 
Robbia from the Opera del Duomo, all the Michelangelo material from the 
Casa Buonarroti, including the Madonna della Scala, the Battle of Lapiths and 
Centaurs, the model for the facade of San Lorenzo and the rich series of draw- 
ings and autograph manuscripts. Then the Verrochio putto from the fountain 
in the courtyard of Palazzo Vecchio, the Della Robbia reliefs from the penden- 
tives of the Pazzi Chapel in Santa Croce, a mass of sculpture from the Bargello, 
three of the Paolo Uccello frescoes from the Chiostro Verde at Santa Maria 
Novella (three more had been abandoned by the Germans at Montagnana), 
and some sixty-three paintings from the Uffizi, including the Portinari altar- 
piece by Hugo van der Goes, the Coronation of the Virgin by Lorenzo Monaco, 
and the Rubens pictures for the Triumph of Henry IV. 

Our way from San Donato In Poggio to San Donato in Collina, near which 
was the villa of La Torre a Cona, lay through country as wild and deserted as 
the region I had traversed on my way to Montegufoni, and the increasing din 
as the road turned northward gave me uneasy memories of the battle around 
Torre del Castellano. But I decided to continue as long as I found recent wheel 
tracks, ask information from military units, and watch out for signs of dis- 
turbance in the surface of the road, for the worst danger was from mines. In 
this manner we eventually arrived at La Torre a Cona, a massive building 
liberated only the preceding day, and already occupied by a mechanized bat- 
talion of the Irish Light Horse. The villa was on the very edge of Allied-held 
territory, and German shells were being poured constantly into the road ahead. 
Major Welch, the battalion commander, readily understood the importance 
of the deposit, promised to undertake full guard responsibility during his stay 
in the place, and to post the section containing the works of art Out of Bounds. 
The building was still undamaged, although the Germans had made carnage 
out of the library and all the business papers of the winery. The director of 
the establishment. Signor Calvelli, led me about the upper floor to where the 
Assumption by Perugino stood, quite undamaged, although some huge and 
mediocre nineteenth century Italian paintings lying in rolls on the floor had 
been slit open by a German bayonet. 

The walled-up refuge which contained the major part of the paintings had 
been broken into, and in the interior many of the boxes had been shifted about. 
Luckily, however, none of the boxes had been broken and the opening made 
by the Germans was too small to have permitted the passage of any of these 
crates. Then Calvelli showed us into the principal storage room, a huge hall 
in the substructions of the building, which opened onto a terrace at a low'er 
level than the front entrance. For that reason and over Calvelli's protests the 
Germans had insisted on using this room as a garage. 

{ 29 } 


In the sudden sunlight which streamed through the outer doors as Calvelli 
flung them open the colossal statues by Donatello and Michelangelo were 
revealed, still in their protecting crates. Unable to suppress an exclamation of 
shock and wonder, I climbed over the crates, identifying with great emotion 
one after another until I found myself gazing through the bars of a crate into 
the agonized face of Michelangelo’s Dawn, every tragic lineament disclosed 
by the light from the door. 

The sculpture was all in order. No attempt had been made to move or disturb 
anything. But as I looked toward the door, I saw, leaning one against the other 
like so many burlap screens, the Expulsion from Paradise, the Flood, and the 
Sacrifice and Drunkenness of Noah from the Chiostro Verde, detached from 
their walls and fixed to canvas. I learned later that the job had been done by 
authority of the Central Institute of Restoration in Rome, and against the ad- 
vice of the Florentine Superintendency. The work had been badly bungled, and 
the Germans had moved the already damaged frescoes without regard for their 
importance. The abandoned implements of the military garage were piled 
against them, tearing holes in the sadly battered masterpieces. I at once asked 
Calvelli for workmen, and together we moved the beams, the boards, and the 
crowbars, and then shifted the monstrously heavy frescoes to positions where 
nothing could touch or lean against them. 

At Montegufoni that night it was decided that the laborious job of checking 
should be undertaken by Captain Enthoven and Dr. Lavagnino. This team 
would stay in Torre a Cona five days, verifying the inventory and examining 
the placing and condition of every object. If possible they were to have local 
masons wall up the whole deposit, so that no military units could use that por- 
tion of the building. Furthermore, if they could in any way obtain transporta- 
tion, they were to go over to Torre del Castellano and make another inspection 
there, the type of thorough check which could not be made on the day of my 
first visit. On the twelfth we were to bring them back to Torre a Cona. 

The morning of August 8, therefore, we set out. Our first stop was the village 
of Grassina on the outskirts of Florence, in order to notify the cao there of the 
presence of this deposit. The interdict that forbade us to enter the liberated 
portion of Florence became more poignant when for a second we caught sight 
of the hills beyond the city, and the immense brown form of Brunelleschi’s 
dome with its marble lantern shining in the sun. Grassina was an uncomfort- 
able spot at the moment, under intermittent shellfire. There, ho\ve\er, I had 
the good fortune to run into Capt. Lawrence L. Miller, who told mie that there 
was a large collection of pictures in the unused clubhouse of a golf course at 
Campo deir Ugolino, a few miles south of Grassina. I was reluctant to stop 
but could not ignore the chance that there might be something of importance. 

{ ^0 } 


The clubhouse proved to be quite modern, with windows in horizontal strips 
— all boarded up. We soon located the custodian and discovered that inside 
were a considerable section of the Museo Civico of Pisa and a number of altar- 
pieces from Pisan churches. We crawled through the hole the Germans had 
made in the walled-up portion of the clubhouse and with the help of a candle 
and a tiny flashlight explored the hot, airless rooms, jammed with the Sienese 
and Pisan Trecento pictures in which the Museo Civico is particularly rich, our 
faint lights striking reflections from the gold backgrounds and glittering pin- 
nacles. Upstahs against the wall stood the whole row of magnificent Crucifixes 
which are the principal works of Pisan Dugento painting, and indeed among 
the most beautiful monuments of thirteenth century painting in Tuscany. On 
both floors every object was neatly stacked so that no damage could be caused 
by the pressure of one panel against another; there seemed to be very little 
dust, and the order had probably not been disturbed. According to the cus- 
todian, the Germans, not satisfied with the sign that placed the building under 
the protection of the Vatican, had insisted on searching for hidden arms but 
had not moved any of the pictures. 

We were all mystified at the presence of these pictures here, the m.ore so as 
Lavagnino assured me that no information as to their removal from the region 
of Pisa had ever been received at the Ministry in Rome. The caretaker then 
told us that the superintendent of monuments and galleries for Pisa, Engineer 
Piero Sanpaolesi, had brought them here comparatively recently, and indeed 
was still living in an apartment in the Palazzo Pitti. The necessity of seeing San- 
paolesi made a fine pretext for requesting permission to enter Florence, so after 
proper delivery of Enthoven and Lavagnino at La Torre a Cona, Franco and 
I set out for Eighth Army. The headquarters had just been moved to a more 
convenient spot between Poggibonsi and Staggia, in a wood off the Via Cassia. 

I found Major Newton still sitting in his tent w'aiting for Florence to be liber- 
ated. The Group Captain granted no permission to go to Florence, but at least 
he offered to send for Sanpaolesi at once and deliver him to Montegufoni. 

All of us at Montegufoni took a rather dim view of a superintendent abandon- 
ing his post at a time of danger, and it was therefore with considerable interest 
that I found on returning to the villa that evening that Sanpaolesi had arrived 
on schedule, in the custody of two carabinieri. He had, as a matter of fact been 
sent for by four carabinieri, apparently in the belief that he was a dangerous 
character. There is no necessity to dwell on the conversation that followed. 
Captain Keller (since Pisa was in Fifth Army area) and I decided to assume 
the responsibility for retaining Sanpaolesi as superintendent, despite the ques- 
tionable aspects of his presence in Florence rather than in Pisa, and despite his 
political past. Our decision was prompted by strict necessity, for there was no 

{ 31 } 


one else available who both could and would take the post. Yet it would be 
unfair to Sanpaolesi not to state that he had been an excellent superintendent 
up until his flight from Pisa, had saved all the works of art from the Pisan 
churches by prompt evacuation, and that after his return to his post labored 
indefatigably to bring order out of ruin under the most difficult circumstances. 

I learned from Sanpaolesi that Pisa had suffered much worse damage than 
the air photographs I had seen in April had led me to believe. Yet terrible 
as had been the bombardment of the railway yards south of Pisa, spreading 
destruction over much of the southern half of the city, some of the worst dam- 
age was caused by the late July bombardments of the bridges and by the forty 
days of fighting inside the city. Neither of this nor of the fate of the Campo 
Santo, a tragedy already a fortnight old, did Sanpaolesi or I have the least 

Many of the most precious objects from the Museo Civico, together with the 
offices of the Superintendency and most of the other governmental offices in 
Pisa, had been moved to the Certosa of Calci at the foot of Monte San Giuhano. 
The inspector of the Pisa Superintendency, Eugenio Luporini, remained at 
Calci with the pictures. As for Campo dell’ Ugolino, Sanpaolesi did not have 
his inventories with him but assured me that the numbering system would 
immediately disclose any gaps. The following day Captain Pennoyer took 
Sanpaolesi over to Campo dell’ Ugolino, and their long and careful examina- 
tion showed that nothing had been touched. After a few days we delivered 
Sanpaolesi to Volterra, to work there under the supervision of Captain Keller. 

The return of Enthoven and Lavagnino from La Torre a Cona made clear 
that no exact inventory check of that deposit was feasible. The Superintendency 
had already started the evacuation of the villa some months before, bringing 
back to Florence a number of statutes, including some of the Medici tomb 
figures by Michelangelo. A complete check of the remainder had been made, 
however, and it was evident that nothing was in danger. Enthoven and Lava- 
gnino had supervised the construction of walls blocking off entirely every room 
containing works of art, and the deposit seemed secure enough to obviate the 
necessity of military guards. During this same period Major DeWald, Professor 
Fasola, and Dr. Castelfranco were making an exact check of the contents of 
Montegufoni, Poppiano, and Montagnana, rectifying the disorder caused by 
the Germans and by the battle, under very' difficult circumstances indeed. With 
the exception of the 297 paintings missing from the Villa Bossi-Pucci at Mon- 
tagnana, it could be announced that the contents of the deposits corresponded 
to the inventories. 

I was still worried by the deposit at Castel Oliveto, which contained, in addi- 
tion to a group of pictures from the Horne Foundation in Florence and from 

{ S2 } 


the galleries of Florence and Empoli, numerous altarpieces taken from the 
Florentine churches for safekeeping. Altogether there were 189 paintings, 9 
pieces of sculpture, and 57 boxes of works of minor art, such as ecclesiastical 
vessels and illuminated manuscripts. The place had already been visited since 
its liberation, but it was so far away, over in the Val d’Elsa near Castel Fiorentio, 
that it had been hard to get to it and do any work. On the day that Captain 
Pennoyer, Dr. Castelfranco, and I started out for Oliveto we had our first 
taste of the drenching rains that were to make the autumn offensive impossible 
and our own work exceedingly difficult. The road up to the hill on which the 
castle stood was so slippery that it was almost impassable. After much slither- 
ing about in the bottomless mud, “Lucky” accomplished the ascent and we 
entered the castle. 

The story there narrated to us by Cavaliere Conti, the overseer of the castle 
and its vineyards, can best be told as written in Superintendent Poggi’s report: 

“During the night of Sunday, July 16, 1944, I was notified by Dr. Popp 
of the German consulate that a convoy of three trucks had left during that 
same night from a non-specified place in the Valdelsa to bring works of 
art to the German headquarters in Piazza San Marco in Florence, where it was 
to arrive at eight in the morning. He asked me to be present at the arrival. 
In fact at eight the trucks arrived, accompanied by the paratrooper, Colonel 
von Hofmann, Captain Tweer, and paratroopers and gendarmes of the Feld- 
gendarmerie. With them was Cav. Augusto Conti, the custodian of our deposit 
of Oliveto. 

“It was explained to us that since the castle of Oliveto was under the fire 
of the Allied artillery, the military command of the sector had decided upon 
the immediate transport to Florence of the works of art. This operation had 
been executed by the Dienststelle l. commanded by Colonel von Hof- 
mann. The works were unloaded in the Museo San Marco; there were 84 paint- 
ings, 23 crates, and 5 pieces of frames. The rest was left at Oliveto. Through 
good luck, although the loading took place at night and with the labor of 
soldiers, the objects arrived in good condition with slight and easily reparable 

“Conti, who accompanied the convoy, told me, however, that it was not 
correct that the castle of Oliveto was already under artiller}' fire and that, on 
the contrary, the zone to which it belongs and which does not have major com- 
munication arteries was still fairly quiet. He added further that, besides the 
objects which had arrived in Florence, two panel paintings by Lucas Cranach, 
the Adam and the Eve from the Gallery of the Uffizi, had also been taken by 
order of Colonel von Hofmann, and loaded into an ambulance but had never 
arrived in Florence. I looked immediately for the Colonel, but he was no longer 

{ id } 


on the spot; Captain Tweer told me he knew nothing of the affair because 
he had arrived at Oliveto after the ambulance had already left [this later proved 
to be true], Monday, July 17, I informed Colonel Langsdorff of the fact, and 
during the night of the seventeenth he went to Oliveto, and upon his return 
let me know that there was no need to worry about the other things remaining 
at Oliveto as the locality was considered quite safe ; as to the two Cranachs he 
was already tracing them and would remain personally responsible for their 
restitution. Following this communication I wrote him a letter with the urgent 
request that he continue in his search in order to insure that the two precious 
paintings be brought back to Florence as soon as possible. The letter could not 
be consigned to Langsdorff, as he left Florence on the nineteenth. However, I 
was able to notify the director general. Carlo Anti, of the fact immediately in 
a letter of July 20. . . . 

“A few days later Casoni, a lawyer of Florence, informed me that Colonel 
von Hofmann on Sunday, July 16, had spoken in a friend’s house of the two 
pictures, and had given to understand that they had been taken at the wish of 
Field Marshal Goering. . . . On July 28 at eleven o’clock I had an unexpected 
visit from Colonel Langsdorff. . . . To my question he replied that he had found 
the two paintings by Cranach, and that they were in a safe place, but he was 
unable to give me any more details. . . . This was my last conversation with 

It was a long time before any of us knew that on July 17, when Langsdorff 
was protesting to Poggi that he knew nothing about them, the pictures were 
at the Hotel Excelsior in Florence — in Langsdorff s room\ Had Poggi arrived 
with his letter a few minutes earlier on the nineteenth he might have been in 
time to see them leave. 

Langsdorff and soldiers of the 71st Infantry Regiment on the night of the 
seventeenth began to move the remaining pictures down into the wine cellar 
to protect them against the nonexistent shells, leaving only the monumental 
frames, too heavy and bulky to carry down the narrow stairs, still in the main 
halls of the villa. When we reached the wine cellar, it was a shocking sight. 
The pictures had been piled rudely against wine casks in a damp and moldy 
spot, and Pennoyer and I at once obtained from Conti the men to bring the 
pictures up again into the upper rooms. It was a long and delicate job. Captain 
Pennoyer stood downstairs and I at the top as the pictures came up, while 
Dr. Castelfranco checked them off on the inventory and stowed them away 
in the principal rooms of the villa. 

As two sweating Tuscan peasants labored up the stairs, the light fell upon 
Filippo Lippi's wonderful Annunciation from San Lorenzo, innocent of anv 
frame or protection, hoisted on their shoulders like a cowshed door beino- car- 

{ S4 } 


ried from the carpenter’s shop. The last time I had seen it was in that most 
luminous of all Renaissance interiors, installed on its altar and protected by 
the gilded columns and cornice of its Quattrocento frame. Among other treas- 
ures in the cellar was the Crucifix by Cimabue leaning against a wine cask. 
The damage from dampness would have been irreparable had these things 
been left where they were, so we worked all day long putting them into safe 
places, consolidating the entire deposit into two large rooms which could 
easily be locked up. 

{ 35 } 



O N August II the German forces defending the north bank of the Arno 
I in the center of Florence withdrew to the periphery of the city, leav- 
ing the major part of the town in the hands of the Partisans but subject 
to sporadic shellfire. Only a few Allied officers and their enlisted assistants 
were permitted into the center of the city for the all-important purpose of 
bringing some quantities, however small, of food, water, and medicine to the 
stricken population. For nine days the inhabitants had been shut up in their 
houses, cut off from all public services by the blowing up of the water mains, 
the gas and the light, always the last graceful gesture of the Germans before 
leaving a city. By August 12 the suspense of waiting for an order to go to 
Florence had become unbearable, and I drove down to Eighth Army head- 
quarters to try to cut the waiting short, only to find that on the preceding day 
Captain Ellis had already been to Florence. He had not crossed the river, how- 
ever, nor had the still unsettled conditions on the south bank permitted him 
to do much exploring. He was able to report only that the principal monuments 
of the south bank, such as the Pitti Palace and the churches of Santo Spirito 
and the Carmine, were apparently intact, although the Masaccio frescoes in 
the latter were walled up and could not be seen. Ponte Santa Trinita, the finest 
bridge of the Renaissance and perhaps the most beautiful bridge in Italy, was 
definitely and completely gone (Figs, i, 2). The design for this masterpiece 
of Bartolommeo Ammanati has been revealed by a recently discovered letter 
to have been corrected and reworked by Michelangelo himself. 

But for me the necessity of getting in touch with the Superintendency to 
find out about the rest of the deposits was by this time absolute. I succeeded in 
obtaining from the Group Captain permission to visit the south bank of the 
Arno, for the sole purpose of going to the Palazzo Pitti to interview the chief 
personnel of the Superintendency. I was on no account to cross the river, as 
the military situation was still highly unsettled and the center of the city, held 
only by small bands of Partisans and those amg officers essential for health and 
police purposes, might be retaken by the Germans at any moment. 

I therefore started out for Florence the next morning in a state of feverish 
excitement, and the recollection of the sights of that day makes it difficult to 
write even now, two years later. I presented my pass to the Military Police at 
San Casciano, not even noticing that the graceful town, one of the loveliest 
of the villages surrounding Florence, had been gutted by Allied air bombard- 
ments. We drove down the hill from San Casciano to the Greve valley wfith 

{ 36 } 


a sense of overwhelming tragedy. The destruction of Florence seemed the end 
of all civilization. How long would this situation last.i* Would Florence become 
another Cassino ? Already that comparison was on the thoughtless lips of young 
staff oflScers unaware of its significance. How could they know if they had 
never seen Florence glitter in the valley through the cypresses of Bellosguardo; 
or looked from San Miniato at sunset to see the Arno under its bridges turn to 
copper, the cathedral standing ankle deep in roof tops, flanked in majesty by 
Giotto’s campanile and defended by the towers of the Bargello and Palazzo 
Vecchio; or if they had never walked in solemn amazement through the in- 
comparable spatial harmonies of Santa Maria Novella and Santo Spirito c 

We passed below the Certosa di Galuzzo, still undamaged on its hilltop, 
which I had last seen as a young student years before. At the road fork below 
Poggio Imperiale the direct road into Porta Romana, the great southern gate 
of the city, was closed by a simple sign with the words “Under Enemy Observa- 
tion.” We turned right, up the slope of Poggio Imperiale and then down the 
tree-masked road to Porta Romana. Through the trees I caught a quick glimpse 
of that luminous spectacle of the city which no one who has ever seen it from 
the hills can possibly forget. The valley around reverberated with shellfire. 

The people on the streets seemed to be emerging from some dreadful illness. 
They were drawn, pale, miserably thin from the long siege. I drove up to Villa 
Torreggiani, in whose gardens the temporary amg headquarters had been set 
up for several days, penetrating with difficulty the hurly-burly of trucks, jeeps, 
officers, soldiers, and Italian civilians that filled the gardens. I was suddenly 
recognized by the provincial commissioner for amg in Florence, the young 
British lieutenant colonel, Ralph Rohe. He at once ordered me to cross the 
river into the northern part of the city. My previous orders could thus be dis- 
regarded. But first I was to write out passes for all the Superintendency per- 
sonnel to cross the Arno. This was my first experience with the famous travel 
passes, the writing of which was to take up so much of my time in the ensuing 
months. It struck me as ludicrous that after fighting for nine days to get a 
pass to come to Florence myself, my first duty on arrival should be the writing 
of passes for twelve other people. 

In the Torreggiani gardens I met for the first time one who was to become a 
faithful collaborator during the next year of hard work, Prof. Filippo Rossi, 
director of the galleries of Florence. After the complicated passes were com- 
pleted and Franco and I had lunched on c-rations under a pine tree, we started 
through the crowded streets of Oltrarno for the Pitti Palace. From the shade 
of Via Serragli with its overhanging eaves we drove through crowds of liber- 
ated Florentines into the blazing sun of Piazza Pitti and up the slope to the 
mountainous fagade of the palace. How many tourists from every country had 

{ 37 } 


once entered that gate and gazed up through the courtyard of Ammanati at 
the fountain playing against the sky, and to the cypresses and oleanders of the 
Boboli gardens! Now the vast court was a crawling mass of unfortunate hu- 
manity. The palace of the Grand Dukes of Tuscany looked like the most 
crowded slum in Naples. Mothers, babies, men, boys, with bundles of clothing 
and mattresses and a few miserable belongings, lay under the huge arches, 
swarmed through the courtyard and up the stairs, screamed from the palace 
windows. Sheets and clothing hung in quantities from every balcony. Here 
and there tables and even little charcoal stoves were set up for the preparation 
of pathetic meals. There was only one source of water in the palace, and there 
were six thousand refugees who had come to find shelter in these massive walls 
after the Germans had evacuated the whole section of the city along the river- 
banks. Even the royal apartments had been put to use to accommodate this tide 
of human misery, and the romantic walks of the Boboli Gardens were used 
as a public toilet. It was months before the gardeners got them clean again. 

In a moment my jeep was surrounded by curious, joyful people. My future 
colleagues were about me, overflowing with questions. “We have been waiting 
for you so long!” cried Poggi’s son, “Why didn’t you come sooner.?” I seemed 
to be borne bodily from the jeep by the wave of spontaneous affection and good 
will. I met dozens of people in quick succession, but particularly Prof. Ugo 
Procacci, one of the two directors of the Superintendency, responsible for the 
preservation of all works of art outside Florence in the three provinces, as well 
as for the famous Gabinetto del Restauro in the Uffizi, where, with slender 
material means, many a miracle is worked and many a masterpiece saved for 
posterity. In later months the self-sacrifice and devotion of Procacci and his 
all-consuming love of art were to increase my respect for him beyond descrip- 
tion. And then appeared the superintendent himself, grave and self-contained, 
like a figure from a Masaccio fresco, whose true nobility was disclosed by the 
events of this terrible period. 

I was soon extricated from the crowd and led to a conference table which 
had been prepared in one of the frescoed halls of the palace. At this meeting 
I outlined the administrative structure of mfaa. explained who we all were and 
in what ways we would be able to help the Superintendency, and also the 
limitations of the work possible under amg. I then obtained from the Super- 
intendency the full list of the still-occupied deposits and ascertained their loca- 
tion. Thus began a year of collaboration in which Allied officers and Italian 
officials faced together the disasters of a war which in a few months ruined so 
large a proportion of the monuments of Tuscan art. 

But I had not yet seen the devastated area and the blown bridges. Procacci 
and I therefore departed on foot toward the scene, and on the way he related 

( S8 } 


the events of the terrible night of August third. I asked him to record in writing 
this most tragic period in the history of Florence, and with Procacci’s permis- 
sion I here quote his remarkable story in full: 

“The morning of July 29, 1944, the Commune of Florence was notified that 
the German Command needed immediately a detailed map of the area of the 
city adjacent to the bridges. Engineer Giuntoli, head of the technical office of 
the Commune, ran to warn Superintendent Poggi, who went at once to His 
Eminence the Cardinal Archbishop of Florence, along with other Florentine 
authorities. In view of the increased gravity of the situation Superintendent 
Poggi was instructed to prepare a memorandum citing the promises to respect 
Florence as an open city. This was to be taken the following morning to the 
German commandant, Colonel Fuchs. 

“In the meantime a proclamation was posted throughout the city ordering 
the inhabitants of the sections along the Arno to evacuate their houses before 
twelve noon on the following day. This provision was justified by saying that 
‘while the German Command has recognized and treated Florence as an open 
city, the enemy up to now has not declared whether it recognizes Florence as 
an open city or not.’ The ordinance therefore was made ‘to spare losses to the 
population in case of eventual attacks or attempts against the bridges across 
the Arno’; and to reassure the public even further, it concluded by saying that 
the removal of personal possessions, especially furniture, was not necessary. 

“The following day, Sunday, July 30, the Florentine authorities met again 
with the Cardinal, and after the memorandum was ready and unanimously 
approved by those present the group went to the German headquarters and 
the memorandum was presented and read to Colonel Fuchs. Herein he was 
reminded of ‘the negotiations of the German ambassador in Italy, of Marshal 
Kesselring and of the German consul in Florence, for the city to be considered 
an open city and spared as much as possible of the damages of war, and the 
orders given in this respect personally by the Fiihrer.’ He was further reminded 
that ‘the chief of staff of the supreme headquarters of the W ehrmacht declared, 
at the Fiihrer’s headquarters on May 12, 1944, in the name of the Fiihrer, that 
every effort would be made not to furnish the enemy with any military motive 
for attacking Florence, the “jewel of Europe,” ’ and it was noted that ‘in conse- 
quence of such assurance and measures the Italian Government has given orders 
to bring back into the city the works of art transported elsewhere to save them 
from the danger of air raids and has interrupted the work begun for the protec- 
tion of the Florentine monuments ... in full accord with the German military 
authorities who for this purpose had lent their assistance.’ It was also noted that 
‘in recent publications in the Florentine newspapers controlled bv the Germans, 
and specifically in the Nazione of July 29, the gratitude of the Florentines was 

{ 39 } 


expressed to “those who have promised and obtained for Florence the treatment 
of an open city,” ’ and it was recognized that the Anglo-American Allies had 
respected the monumental parts of the city of Florence, and that in fact no 
damage had been caused to its more ancient quarters or more important build- 

“In conclusion, it was stated that the authorities, ‘alarmed now and surprised 
by the announcement of serious measures in evident contrast with what had 
up to then been declared and brought to the knowledge of the citizens; and 
unable to take effective provisions due to the restricted time and the difficulty 
of the situation, but desirous of accomplishing as much as possible for the salva- 
tion of the city — ask the German headquarters whether they still intend, as re- 
peatedly declared, to consider and treat Florence as an open city. Further, the 
authorities requested authorization and means to communicate directly with 
the Anglo-American military headquarters to inform them of the situation in 
order that the responsibility for acts which could bring grave harm to a city 
of such importance, not only for the Florentines but for the Italians and for 
the whole civilized world, should remain clearly determined before the judg- 
ment of history.’ 

“Colonel Fuchs, although the movements of his face betrayed an inner ir- 
ritation at the last part of this memorandum, offered no objections to the con- 
tents of the note which had been read to him; he said only that he did not 
have the authority to concede a safe-conduct for the Cardinal to cross over to 
the Allies as was requested, and that for this he would have to ask Marshal 
Kesselring. But on the other hand, he assured all present that the measures 
adopted were only precautionary. Then he took one of the little proclamations 
dropped by Allied airplanes the day before over Florence, with the instructions 
of General Alexander's headquarters to the Florentines, and said that the Allies, 
however, did not count Florence as an open city. 'With these words the meeting 
was dissolved. 

“Reassurances similar to those of Colonel Fuchs were explicitly repeated in 
the last newspaper issued in Florence, the Nazione of that same day, July 30, 
in an article commenting on the ordinance for the evacuation of the area of 
the bridges, an article which could not but be ofiEcial in a newspaper controlled 
by the German authorities. This statement read: ‘The German headquarters 
wishes to confirm its responsibility for the initiative in having declared Florence 
an open city according to international standards, but although the German 
side has entirely fulfilled the agreements of the international conventions, a 
confirmation on the part of the Anglo-Saxons is still lacking. In other words 
the enemy has not expressly declared that he intends on his part to respect 
Florence as an open city. Therefore it is not surprising if the German head- 

; 40 } 


quarters suspect a possible enemy action against the six Florentine bridges, 
which constitute so many objectives within the reach of Anglo-Saxon offensive 
means. But it is purely a suspicion, and thus a form of precaution which does 
not in the least change the determination of the German headquarters to abide 
by the standards of the international conventions up to now scrupulously re- 
spected. . . . Evacuation of the strip of habitations bordering on the Arno means 
only the prevention of possible injury to the population in case the enemy at- 
tempts to damage the bridges across the river.’ 

“It would have seemed, therefore, following so many and such explicit 
declarations, official and semiofficial, that there was nothing to fear regarding 
the intentions of the German authorities, but these illusions were not to last 
for long. 

“In the early afternoon someone from an unidentified German unit tele- 
phoned to the superintendent asking if it would be possible to remove during 
the day the four statues from Ponte Santa Trinita. The superintendent informed 
him that this was absolutely impossible, since the statues were so large that 
a scaffolding would be required, and also because it was impossible to find 
workmen at the moment, given the circumstances as well as the fact that it 
was a holiday. No matter how quickly one tried to work, at least several days 
would be necessary; but the German replied that that was not possible. 

“On the following day [Monday, July 31] no one was permitted to cross 
the bridges or to move in the area which had been evacuated, so that the city 
was divided into two parts. Thus the tragic days began for the Florentines. 
We understood now what a frightful destiny hung over our bridges but we 
did not yet suppose that the enemy fury would go so far as to destroy entire 
streets, and among the most beautiful, of the mediaeval city. . . . 

“I had been for some time lodged with my family in a few rooms of Palazzo 
Pitti, since I had had to abandon my house, which was too close to the Campo 
di Marte railroad station.^ When on Sunday I crossed Ponte Santa Trinita for 
the last time and in dark sadness climbed Piazza Pitti to enter the great portal, 
an atrocious spectacle roused me from that nightmarish sense of being lost that 
had seized us all, a feeling that we were tiny and impotent against the adverse 
development of events. On all sides in the Ammanati courtyard was a chaotic 
mass of people, looking for a place to put their mattresses and what few things 
they had been able to bring from their abandoned houses. It was the most 
humble populace of the Oltrarno section who sought refuge in the great palace, 
finding that its massive walls gave a slight sense of protection and security. 
Thus began for us a new life which fortunately forced us to forget, at least 
for some moments, our terrible situation. We constantly had to find shelter 

^ The main freight yards, frequently bombarded by the Allies. 

{ 41 } 


for new refugees, because the Germans continued to evacuate more streets and 
more dwellings. We had to take care of sanitation, provisions, water. We car- 
ried on all trades, for the only satisfaction was to he able to help one another, 
brothers all in this tragic misfortune. 

“Monday morning, I walked along the corridor which unites Palazzo Pitti 
to the UfSzi to see what was happening around the bridges. One had to go 
cautiously knowing that the Germans would certainly have fired upon whoever 
was found in the evacuated zone. I arrived at the arch of Via de’ Bardi and 
looked toward Borgo San Jacopo. Two Germans were battering down the 
door of a house; as the door resisted, they stepped backward and quickly threw 
a hand grenade. The entrances to the houses ahead, nearer to Ponte Vecchio, 
appeared all broken open. In that moment I guessed everything which was to 
happen— in addition to the bridges, they were mining even the houses; tliey 
were going to blow up the ancient quarter of the city. I had to move back from 
the window because one of the German soldiers glanced in my direction. A 
lump closed my throat; there was nothing to hope for now. I looked at the 
bare walls of the corridor; I would never see them again. I returned toward 
Palazzo Pitti; I had tears in my eyes and my closed throat almost kept me 
from breathing. 

“There was now no hope, but I still could not give up. I still tried to con- 
vince myself that the two German soldiers were breaking down the doors only 
to rob the houses. However, I did not succeed in deluding myself; the smashed 
doors of Borgo San Jacopo still returned before my eyes. 

“Monday night there was a fierce Allied bombardment against the German 
positions; for hours and hours the fire w’as uninterrupted and of ever-increas- 
ing intensity. The shells now fell close to the city; one could even hear the 
whistle. The terrified people were crowded into the lower parts of the palace 
and into the air raid shelters. To me, however, the bombardment gave a sense 
of jov: if the Allies arrived in Florence now the bridges and the city would 
perhaps be saved, for the Germans would not have been able to place all then- 
mines. But at dawm the bombardment ceased and by the first light of day I 
could see on the Piazza the motionless German soldiers guarding the entrance 
to Via Guicciardini. 

“Tuesday passed in this agony, and Wednesday; Thursday morning [Au- 
gust 3], just before noon, the rumor ran that an ordinance from the German 
headquarters forbade anyone to leave his house or to look out of the windows; 
the populace was to retire into the lower floors of the buildings. I ran to Via 
Romana and read the proclamation: the streets were already almost deserted; 

- Procacci wrote "unites.'' e'^en thou gh at the time or writing the corridor was completelv 
destroved. .\pparer.:h he could no: bring himselr to realize it. 

/ 42 1 


from the distance I saw a German patrol advance, in front of which the few 
passers-by scattered. 

“That evening I went out with my wife into the courtyard among the crowd 
of refugees. Suddenly, a little before nine, there was a formidable explosion; 
everything seemed to crumble and for a moment we thought it was the end. 
It seemed that the earth was trembling and that the great palace would be con- 
quered from one moment to the next; at the same time from every side glass 
and pieces of window rained on the crowd, and the air became unbreathable. 
Terror seized the crowd; a few began to cry ‘The bridges, the bridges!’ This 
brought back a little calm. Most of the people fled immediately to the ground- 
floor rooms and to the shelters; the more courageous applied themselves to 
helping the wounded. My wife and I tried to run to our children who were 
left in the palace. A second explosion caught us while we were in a narrow 
corridor between two courtyards. We were beaten to the wall along with the 
other people. 

“In the apartment the children were calm; after a few minutes my brother 
arrived. From the height of the Boboli Gardens, where he was at the moment 
of the first explosion, he had seen a streak of smoke gliding above Via Guicciar- 
dini to only a few score yards from the palace. Now there was nothing left to 
hope for. My thoughts rested on one thing only: Ponte Santa Trinita — if at 
least that were saved! This idea became almost a nightmare; it did not leave 
me, and often, shaking myself as from a state of unconsciousness, I found my- 
self repeating, ‘Ponte Santa Trinita, Ponte Santa Trinita, Ponte Santa Trinita.’ 
For a few hours there were no more explosions. With my brother I went to 
the high rooms of the Palace toward the Arno; everything was shattered. I 
looked from the windows hoping to see something, but darkness enveloped all 
Florence. Toward midnight the explosions began again, loud but not terrify- 
ing like the first two, and they continued until dawn. In the early light I 
looked from a window onto the Piazza. There was no one, but in a moment 
from behind the wing of the palace toward Piazza San Felice came two Parti- 
sans. I opened the window and cried ‘Where are the Germans.^’ ‘There are 
none here any more, but they are still across the Arno!’ came the answer. ‘And 
the bridges.'" ‘All blown up except Ponte Vecchio.’ ‘Viva ritalia!" cried one of 
the Partisans. ‘Viva I’ltalia!’ I answered. But Italy no longer had the Ponte 
Santa Trinita! 

“I descended into the courtyard weeping. ‘What’s the matter?" I was asked. 
‘Ponte Santa Trinita is gone,’ I answered, without even knowing what I said. 
Some must have thought me insane. But at the moment there returned a thread 
of hope: had the Partisans been mistaken? It was not possible to leave the palace 
by the front entrances; all the doors had been barred. I ran therefore into the 

{ 43 } 


Boboli Gardens, up, up, all the way to the Kafleehaus. I climbed the stairs in 
haste. ‘Don’t look out!’ cried a woman, ‘The Germans are firing!’ I looked out 
nonetheless and in the still feeble light of the early morning I saw the massacre 
of my Florence. The ruins of Oltrarno were there at a few paces. That mar- 
velous panorama which for generations had been admired by the whole world 
showed a tremendous gash in a tragic foreground along the Arno around 
Ponte Vecchio, and the dust and smoke were still rising from the rubble. 

“I could not keep my mind long on these ruins. Already my thoughts had 
become accustomed to this destruction, but Ponte Santa Trinita could not be 
seen from there. I came down from the Kaffeehaus and went with the others 
toward the ‘Cavaliere.’ Suddenly shots passed close by. A sniper hidden in the 
Fortezza del Belvedere had aimed at us. For some time we had to hide and 
could not move. Not even from the ‘Cavaliere’ could we see Ponte Santa Trinita. 

“I returned to the palace ; now exact news had come from outside. No illusion 
was possible any longer. Ponte Santa Trinita, they told me, collapsed only at 
dawn, after the third attempt by the Germans to mine it. In the immense sor- 
row, this gave me a little comfort: the giant had resisted to the very last the 
destructive rage of the bestial enemy. 

“I had hardly returned to the palace when suddenly came the rumor, ‘The 
Allies are here!’ The crowd rushed to one side, I along with the others. On 
the grand staircase of the palace you could not pass. While I was trying to get 
through, suddenly on the landing of the grand staircase appeared an English 
soldier and an English officer, embraced on every side by the crowd. Everyone 
shouted enthusiasm and applauded; for a moment I forgot everything. A sort 
of delirium seized me; the abjection of more than twenty years, the agony of 
the last months were over. I was a free man again. With the others I began to 
applaud and shout frantically, and after the greatest of sorrows I e.xperienced 
in that moment the greatest joy.” 

Thus ends the sad recital, with its images of the majestic integrity of Poggi 
and the Cardinal, confronting without fear the German commander in their 
vain attempt to intercede for Florence, and of the vulpine treachery of this offi- 
cer who had at that moment already started his soldiers on their errand of 
destruction; of the love of the Florentines for their wmnderful city, and of the 
final Dantesque scenes of destruction and horror in the awful night. 

* * * 

To reach Ponte Vecchio from where we were in the Palazzo Pitti on the 
afternoon of August 13, was impossible. A mass of rubble thirty feet hiah 
spilled from the end of \'ia Guicciardini almost into the Piazza Pitti. We 
therefore had to climb an improvised ladder from one side of the Boboli Gar- 

{ 44 } 


dens into the Corridor, which still ran as far as the other side of Piazza Santa 
Felicita. Here we descended a dark staircase and emerged into the graceful 
little piazza in front of the church — and to a scene of horror and devastation. 
The tall column in the center of the piazza had fallen with everything else, 
caught in the avalanche of rubble. Shattered masonry, splintered beams, broken 
bedsteads, glass, metal, plaster, bricks, lay under shattered ruins of Trecento 

Soldiers and civilians together poured in a narrow stream constricted by the 
ruins on one side and the rubble on the other to cross the littered roadway of 
Ponte Vecchio, chary of the live mines that still filled the wreckage. Once in 
safety on the bridge we could look around and gain a fairly complete picture of 
the catastrophe. From the Loggia del Mercato Nuovo, deep among the build- 
ings of the north bank, all the way to the Piazza Pitti was a clean sweep of 
destruction, over which only one or two buildings and weirdly shaped frag- 
ments of buildings, together with a few of the rude mediaeval house-towers, 
still rose. Por Santa Maria, almost all of Via Guicciardini, Via de’ Bardi, and 
half of Borgo Sant’ Jacopo were demolished. Half the Lungarno Acciaioli was 
gone, palaces and all. On the south bank the wonderful old buildings that 
overhung the river, those anonymous accretions of ages, floor on floor, balconies, 
arches, crowding roof tops all supported on consoles over the water — how 
often had we seen them, how often walked at night to gaze through Vasari’s 
arches at the picturesque wall of houses reflected in the quiet stream. It was 
these houses that had given the Ponte Vecchio its beauty, a city vaulting the 
river. Now it stood stripped, the houses all one gigantic trash pile together, 
spilling into the Arno. 

One could now look straight through to see the giant block of Orsanmichele 
and the dome of the cathedral, so little was left of the buildings between. This 
had been the heart of Dante’s Florence. These were the streets and squares 
scarcely altered since Giotto and Masaccio walked them. Here had been pre- 
served, as nowhere else in the city, the Florence of the Middle Ages. Now, 
houses, towers, palaces with all they contained and with all their glorious 
memories, lay collapsed in mountainous heaps of rubble. Form to formlessness, 
beauty to horror, history to mindlessness, all in one blinding crash. The wreck- 
age stank sharply in the August sun, for the sewers were broken and this last 
nauseating insult was flung in characteristic German style to grace the deliberate 

And why ? This whole devastation was carried out only to block Ponte Vec- 
chio, so that the Allies could not cross it. To keep from blowing up Ponte 
Vecchio the Germans had leveled a thousand yards of ancient Florence: a score 
of palaces, fifty mediaeval houses, a dozen towers. Yet such was the clumsiness 

{ 45 } 

liberation of FLORENCE 

of the operation that it did not even block the bridge. Within a few hours 
loopholes were found through which Allied vehicles could cross. The river, 
moreover, was nearly dry. Crowds of people were pouring over the dams, and 
small tanks for the support of the Partisans eventually made their way over 
the rubble of Ponte alle Grazie and up the other side. Had the Allies really 
wished to attack in this sector the destruction of the bridges would have been 
a very minor impediment. 

According to Lieutenant Colonel Zolling,“ who was present as the aide to 
Kesselring at a meeting with Hitler and Goering, it was Hitler himself who 
gave orders to blow up the bridges of Florence, saving only the “most artistic 
one.” This apparently was Ponte Vecchio. Ponte Santa Trinita was not “artis- 
tic” enough to be worth saving. And there it lay, a few wretched stones and 
smashed fragments in the shallow water, below the mutilated piers (Figs, i, 2). 
Sharp as a sword blade, its curve had carried from the Renaissance palaces 
of Via Maggio to the magnificence of Via Tornabuoni. The marble statues of 
the Four Seasons had stood in all their exquisite grace to dramatize one’s prog- 
ress across the bridge. The triangular masses of the piers had directed the 
water under those incredible arches, the most subtle curves in the world, severe, 
elliptical, tense, compressed by the bulk of the piers and the clean line of the 
roadway. The mighty bridge was gone, and over the stumps of the piers sol- 
diers were busy swinging a Bailey bridge to make life possible for the stricken 

Around the monstrous scene I walked with Procacci. The Germans had 
time to sow the rubble thickly with mines, and it would be months before 
the population could get through those streets again. The destruction may not 
have held up the war in Italy five minutes, but it paralyzed the city. Now that 
the initial stupor had worn off I began to realize the full extent of the disaster. 
We crossed the river and came out into the Piazzale degli Uffizi, a sea of broken 
glass from the windows and skylights of the gallery. The Florentines were all 
out in the streets for the first time in weeks of siege, careless of the shells still 
dropping in the city. Feeling strangely alone in my American uniform among 
those people who had as yet seen so few Allied soldiers I felt the more embar- 
rassed at the occasional ripple of applause from the crowds among which I 

We walked to the other side of Piazza della Signoria and gazed through 
the truncated walls of Via Vacchereccia to the vast desolation of Por Santa 
Maria, above which rose in shattered majesty the mediaeval towers. Beyond 
these ruins stood the unfinished walls of Brunelleschi's Palazzo di Parte Guelfa, 

^ Interrogated in the summer of 1945 by Lieutenant Colonel DeWald and Wing Com- 
mander Cooper. 

{ 46 } 


for the first time exposed to the sun. The roof had largely collapsed and the 
great ceiling by Vasari was badly wrecked. Then we returned to the Uffizi, 
climbed the glass-strewn staircase to the top floor, to emerge among the columns 
of the famous loggia that runs around the top of the building, gives access to 
the galleries of painting and sculpture, and looks out on the Arno. Windows 
and window frames alike were wrecked. Hardly a roof tile was not displaced 
or shattered. All the skylights were gone. And of the charming Cinquecento 
and Seicento decorative frescoes of the loggia, large sections had become loos- 
ened from the straw. Some entire bays had fallen to the ground. Others, 
loosened, were hanging free. The charming grotteschi of Allori and his pupils 
in the Medici armory were terribly battered, many sections lying smashed on 
the floor. The painting galleries were a dreary sight without their pictures, 
the floors buried in broken glass and plaster, the brocades spotted and ripped. 
From the famous loggia over the river, whence so many rapt visitors had once 
gazed, we looked out on the horror of the destruction. What had once been 
houses and palaces on the opposite bank were a gigantic sand pile slipping into 
the green Arno (Figs. 3 and 4 ). I do not wish to exaggerate. With the exception 
of Ponte Santa Trinita the best-known monuments of the city were intact or 
only slightly damaged (although we did not know w'hat vital portion a shell 
might strike next). But the matrix of it all, the mediaeval portion of the city, 
had been at least a third obliterated. As I recall from this distance in time the 
fearful sight, the bitter despair of that day, I can still see the words which ap- 
peared in chalk below the statue of Dante in his niche in the colonnade of the 

In sul passo dell’ Arno 

I tedeschi hanno lasciato 

II ricordo della loro civilta* 

■* “On the banks of the Arno the Germans have left a reminder of their civilization.” 

{ } 



I N August and early September of 1944 the operational front was largely 
determined by the course of the Arno River, from its mouth near Pisa 
due east to Florence and thence in a great hook south toward Arezzo and 
north again to its source in the Casentino. On this curve, one hundred and 
twenty miles in length, the war had come to a grinding stop. Gunj&re, shells, 
bombs, and mines were working terrific havoc in all the Arno towns from 
Florence to the sea. Although Florence had now reverted from Eighth to Fifth 
Army, coming therefore under the jurisdiction of Captain Keller, no one oflScer 
could possibly carry out the mfaa work over so large an area. By arrangement 
between Fifth Army, Eighth Army, and Toscana Region (as Region viii was 
now called), I was delegated responsibility for tbe work in the three eastern 
provinces, Florence, Siena, and Arezzo, and Captain Keller continued in the 
three western provinces, Grosseto, Pisa, and Livorno. Major Newton, technically 
responsible for Arezzo, still under Eighth Army control, moved with Eighth 
Army to the Adriatic. This arrangement continued in force throughout the 
autumn and winter, the dividing line between our territories changing as new 
areas were liberated, by informal agreement between Captain Keller and me. 
During all the time I was associated with Captain Keller, reporting to h im , 
he gave me an absolutely free hand in areas delegated to me, and whenever I 
needed help he intervened with the full authority and material aid of Fifth 

The situation in Florence in the early days was such that we were not eager 
to leave our quarters in Montegufoni, and Franco and I returned there every 
night. In the city there was no water, no light, the hotels had no windows, the 
mosquitoes came in clouds from the stagnant Arno, the heat was intense and 
the air suffocating with the odors from the broken sewers and gas mains, the 
unflushable closets, and the corpses still buried under the ruins along the Arno. 
Fascist snipers from windows all over the town picked off civilians at random. 
During this period nearly four hundred persons, mostly civilians, were killed 
by the German batteries which continued to shell the town sporadically from 

The military situation bordered on the insane. Only the center of Florence was 
liberated, and in the hands of the Partisans. The only Allied military personnel 
in the town, aside from those vmg officers and soldiers essential to the main- 
tenance of public services, were the police and engineering personnel of 71 
Garrison. Nowhere else had the Allies crossed the Arno. The Germans still 

{ 48 } 


held the outskirts of the city, and the intervening districts formed a bloody No 
Man’s Land whose residents made frantic expeditions for water between the 
bursts of machine-gun and rifle fire. At night German patrols and light tanks 
came down through the city to the banks of the river, and apparently the only 
reason the Germans did not retake the center was to avoid the responsibility 
of caring for the miserable population, suffering from thirst, hunger, sleep- 
lessness, overcrowding, and the impossibility of maintaining the most ele- 
mentary hygiene. 

The city was caught between two opposing armies, and for all we knew 
might be ground to bits before the deadlock was broken. All day long over 
Florence the Alhed shells whistled from guns situated just outside the city, 
bombarding the German positions around Fiesole, and the city shook to the 
rumble of the Long Toms. Not an Allied shell fell in Florence, but the uncon- 
trolled German bombardment hit Santo Spirito, Santa Croce, the flank of the 
cathedral, the campanile of Giotto, the roof of the baptistery, the central section 
of the Ufiizi, the Palazzo Strozzi, and the Loggia del Bigallo, carrying away 
the head of the marble Madonna relief by Alberto Arnold!. Every morning the 
personnel of the Superintendency patrolled the streets of Florence to pick up 
the fragments of what German shells had knocked down during the night. 
In this way the beautiful head was found and returned to the Superintendency 

Captain Ellis and I established our office with Florence Province .vmg in the 
top floor of the Palazzo Medici-Riccardi, whose chapel with its Gozzoli fres- 
coes could be seen only by candlelight. Here we were some seven hundred yards 
from the first German positions in the Fortezza da Basso. No one as yet lived 
in the Palazzo — a wise precaution, for on one occasion the German patrols 
came into it at night, after the amg officers had returned to Villa Torreggiani 
across the Arno. 

On Sunday morning, August 20 , at about eleven o’clock, the shelling be- 
came more intense, and the explosions quite close around us. An appalling 
crash nearly shook us to the office floor. We were stunned for a moment, but 
nothing seemed to be broken and we resumed work in the midst of the deafen- 
ing concussions. Later I found out that the shell had landed on the roof directly 
above our heads, exploding without piercing the ceiling. The brunt of the 
shelling had been borne by the church of San Lorenzo. The construction over 
the inner cupola at the crossing of nave and transept had suffered seven direct 
hits, wrecking the roof and imperiling the cupola. It was just after High Mass, 
and a shell landed in the crowd outside, killing twenty-four persons. 

In our office we received countless requests for Off Limits signs from frantic 
villa proprietors, each of whom insisted that his villa was a monumento na- 

i 49 } 


zionale and should not be requisitioned. There was not time enough to investi- 
gate one such situation before another applicant arrived. I was constantly be- 
ing confused with a Lieutenant Dart, displaced persons officer, and the office 
besieged by helpless refugees. Urgent problems of salvage and repair had to 
be discussed with the Superintendency personnel. In desperation I accepted 
the invitation of the Superintendent to move my establishment into the ground 
floor of the Uffizi, beside Rossi and within easy reach of Procacci. This brought 
only a momentary surcease. The visitors trebled and quadrupled, and now 
Allied requisitioning officers arrived with requests to occupy one monument 
after another, understandable enough with an army group, an army headquar- 
ters, and an air force, including their subsidiary units, all stationed in and 
around Florence. Few requisitioning mistakes were made, but even the Palazzo 
Pitti was three times in danger of being taken over by the army. 

Through all this the office had to be established, records kept, letters an- 
swered, reports written, preventivi (construction estimates) analyzed and ap- 
proved. Each preventivo had to bear my signature below that of the super- 
intendent, and the channels through which they then proceeded became daily 
more complex. Eventually they had to pass (in five copies) through nine 
separate steps in Italian and amg bureaucracy. With luck it took an individual 
preventivo anywhere from two to four months to run the whole labyrinth, 
and by then the lira would have fallen again so that the collected sums were 
no longer sufficient for the work. These sums were, incidentally, all from Italian 
state funds. But many preventivi were not so fortunate. Often they were re- 
turned for compliance with some entirely new regulation or because they had 
not been understood. Often they were sidetracked or even mislaid for months 
by harassed civil engineers who were responsible for water mains and bridges 
and had little time to deal with the monuments. 

But we could not sit and watch the monuments fall to pieces while the 
bureaucracy, Italian and Allied, haggled over the preventivi. With my ap- 
proval the Superintendency went ahead engaging the contractors to do the 
jobs. The contractors had to pay their workmen and buy their materials, and 
often when they came to the Superintendency there was no money for them. 
When I left Florence the Superintendency was still besieged by its creditors and 
has only recently freed itself from debt. The impressive list of repaired monu- 
ments should, however, justify the policy of immediate action. 

I was aided with the burden of administrative detail by an Italian secretary 
Signorina Ester Sermenghi, a real heroine of the days of Partisan resistance in 
Florence and a devoted helper, and by Pfc. Paul O. Bleecker of New York 
City, who was assigned to my office in mid-September, doing an excellent job 
until he was taken away to be reassigned to mf.aa in liberated Bologna, amg 

{ 50 } 


Toscana Region did not move to Florence until May 1945. This left me fairly 
independent, save for my responsibility to amg Fifth Army and its senior civil 
affairs officer, General Hume, who in September installed himself in the fres- 
coed halls of Palazzo Vecchio. I had many an occasion to thank General Hume 
for his interest in Florentine art and for his prompt intervention when his au- 
thority was needed. 

During these days I had to bid a regretful farewell to Montegufoni and move 
my lodgings as well as my offices into Florence. Yet the presence of my com- 
mand in Siena, later in Lucca, meant that no military organization in Florence 
felt itself responsible for billeting me. I was therefore pushed from one requi- 
sitioned hotel to another until rescued by the generosity of Princess Lucrezia 
Corsini. Moved by the work that mfaa was doing in saving Italian art, she 
placed at my disposal an apartment in Palazzo Corsini, where I remained until 
I left Florence in August of the following year. 

With September came the rain. The first storms wrought havoc in the un- 
roofed churches and palaces, but by the end of the month the thirty-five day 
downpour had begun which was to bring the offensive in the Apennines to a 
dead stop before Bologna, convert every by-pass around a broken bridge into a 
bottomless slough, every stream bed into a wall of water, every jeep trip into 
a sort of submarine excursion through rain and mud. The Arno, empty in 
August, rose in October till one could hear its roar five or six blocks away. By 
November i the flood was bringing down beams and trees, and sometimes 
actual patches of earth with squashes growing on them drove by under the 
arches of Ponte Vecchio and over the ruins of Ponte Santa Trinita. Soon the 
new Bailey bridges were threatened, and cars crossed over them only one at 
a time. The yellow whirlpools reached the balustrade and spray was flung into 
the streets. Under Palazzo Corsini the embankment collapsed and the river 
rushed into the alleys. Pisa was flooded six feet deep, Grosseto twelve. 

With the establishment of a permanent office in Florence, our nomadic phase 
was succeeded by as systematic a program of inspection tours as was possible 
under the circumstances. The expansion of my duties necessitated the assign- 
ment of still another officer to mfa.\ in Tuscany, attached to amg Florence Citv. 
This position was filled first by Capt. Edward Croft-Murray from the Print 
Room of the British Museum, then by Capt. Cecil Pinsent, a British architect 
who had resided in Florence for nearly thirty years, then by Captain Enthoven, 
then again by Captain Pinsent. All of these officers did magnificent work, and 
the appearance of the city of Florence bears the lasting imprint of their efforts. 

Florence was the center of all our efforts. It was essential to retain every frag- 
ment still partially surviving from the destroyed palaces and towers — not much, 
alas, for the brutal thoroughness of the German demolitions was carried out 

{ } 


by means of bombs placed in the basements, blowing the buildings vertically. 
Gothic and Renaissance arcaded courtyards disappeared without a trace. But 
the towers had to be retained as a nucleus for any future rebuilding in the area, 
to preserve at least the basic plan of mediaeval Florence. The Florentines them- 
selves were intensely aware of this, and the head of the Tuscan Committee of 
National Liberation, Dr. Carlo Lodovico Ragghianti, himself an art historian, 
appointed a commission for the study of the area. No Italian outside the Govern- 
ment had the authority to appoint commissions, and then only with Allied 
approval, but I readily waived formalities in view of the spontaneous enthusiasm 
for the project. The “Art Commission for Destroyed Florence,” as this group 
was called, soon took on in the popular imagination another and more grimly 
appropriate title, the “Rubble Commission.” These men, mostly young archi- 
tects who had volunteered their time and their efforts to aid the Superintend- 
ency, did excellent work in the early days of the liberation of Florence. 

We were, however, not the only organizations to have an interest in the 
devastated area. Under the rubble lay buried the broken water and gas mains, 
necessary for the continued existence of the city. The British engineers entrusted 
with the restoration of these essential services worked with remarkable speed 
and efSciency, yet were apt to pay scant attention to fragments of mediaeval 
wall or buried libraries. Such an attitude would have been justifiable in the slum 
areas of a modern metropolis, but in the center of Florence it threatened to 
complete the German job of destruction. Mechanical excavation for the water 
line which followed the route of Via de’ Bardi was found too slow, and the 
chief engineer for 71 Garrison ordered the use of a bulldozer. To insure the 
safe motion of this heavy equipment, he wanted to demolish all standing walls 
at once, and all rubble in the path of the machine was to be pushed into the 
Arno. On this exact spot had stood the home of the Colombaria Society, a 
group of Florentine artists, historians, and bibliophiles, founded in 1735. The 
rich library of the Society, a collection of manuscripts, incunabulae, letters, 
diaries, and archives, was in addition to its great bibliographic value and im- 
portance for the early development of research in Etruscan archaeology, a 
primary source for the study of the history of Florence. With the collapse of 
the building the entire library was buried under tons of rubble — this was now to 
be pushed into the river by the bulldozer. 

Interviews with the British engineers confirmed the absolute necessity of 
excavating for the water in that spot and disclosed our own desire not to slow 
down their vital work. An agreement was worked out under which the Super- 
intendency would supply the necessary personnel to remove any objects found, 
while the engineers were to operate the bulldozer in such a way that the work- 
men and inspectors could perform their task. Yet in spite of all pledges, the 

{ 52 } 


bulldozer worked too fast and raised too much dust for systematic salvage to 
be possible. At such a distance in time it is useless to indulge in recriminations. 
But under the universal strain tempers were frayed and regrettable incidents 
occurred before the direct intervention of General Hume brought about a 
modus vivendi whereby the machines circumnavigated entirely the site of the 
Colombaria, leaving our workers free for their exacting job. Actually the water 
main was discovered nowhere near the river, and I have not yet been able to 
understand why it was considered necessary to clear the neighboring sites 
completely in order to reach it. 

As the bulldozer, manned in two shifts, worked continuously from eight to 
eight, we had to have two shifts of workmen at the site of the Colombaria 
throughout the fierce heat of the day. Each shift was under the direction of 
an assistant from the Superintendency, and the whole job was run by a volun- 
teer worker, Signor Mario Bellini. As the excavation proceeded, the books were 
brought to the tiny German Protestant church on the Lungarno, later to the 
rooms of the Museo Bardini, and there sorted out. Here Dr. Gustavo Bonaven- 
tura, of the Istituto della Patologia del Libro in Rome, received the damaged vol- 
umes, and administered whatever first aid he could. When the late September 
rains began, the job was almost over. What had been retrieved from the ap- 
parently hopeless rubble more than justified the struggle for its salvage. The 
exquisite loggia with its arcades looking out on the Arno was irrevocably 
gone, only about a sixth of the modern library was found, the archives of the 
Colombaria Society and various other literary societies had almost completely 
disappeared, but the manuscripts and incunabulae, by far the most precious 
possessions of the Colombaria, turned up in surprising numbers, and for the 
most part in a better state of preservation than could have been hoped for. In 
addition to more than a thousand books and over four thousand pamphlets, 
forty-two out of eighty-two of the historical and scientific manuscripts w'ere 
found, thirty out of thirty-eight precious codices, and thirty-four out of thirty- 
six inctmabulae, almost all in a condition that made restoration possible. After 
the delicate and painstaking work of Bonaventura, who spent six weeks flat- 
tening, dusting, drying every page, the precious books were deposited in the 
National Library in Florence as part of the national cultural heritage. 

Less encouraging was the story of the Torre di Parte Guelfa. This massive 
tower which, with two others, had once composed the famous triangular Piazza 
dei Rossi at the southern end of Ponte Vecchio (Fig. 6), survived only in frag- 
mentary state. Two of the four walls were still standing. The facade on Via 
Guicciardini was split from the top down to a point approximately at the level 
of the cornice of the ground story. The crack was as much as a foot wide at 
the top. Yet this building, an essential element in the scheme of the destroyed 

{ 55 ) 


mediaeval area, was considered of first importance by the “Rubble Commis- 
sion.” A detailed letter was sent to 71 Garrison, in which the Commission of- 
fered to take over all responsibility for shoring and chaining the ruin so that 
reconstruction would be possible. The leading architect for the Florence rail- 
way station, Giovanni Michelucci, was convinced the operation was feasible. 
What was the astonishment of the Florentines, therefore, to find on the day 
following the delivery of their letter that the wall at right angles to Via Guic- 
ciardini had already been pulled down, and that the engineers were attaching a 
cable to the upper portions of the facade to pull down the rest of the building! 

A second spirited intervention of General Hume produced a compromise. 
The engineers were to demolish only the leaning section and we would assume 
responsibility for the rest, of which enough remained to permit reconstruction 
of the tower. On September 8 the demolition took place in the presence of 
Captain Croft-Murray, while I was out of the city on another job. According to 
Croft-Murray the cable attached near the bottom of the north section and 
dragged with the full force of the bulldozer had no effect on the supposedly 
threatening structure. It had to be untied and reattached approximately half- 
way up. The north section then came down, and a second later, so great was 
the shock, the rest of the facade followed. The tower was thus gone past hope 
of reconstruction, and the engineers were faced with a mass of rubble whose 
clearance would require as long as it would have taken us to complete shoring 
operations. They never did clear it, and made no attempt to excavate for water at 
that point. The most picturesque square in old Florence had disappeared, with- 
out even the comfort that its destruction was necessary. 

To forestall further disasters of this nature we obtained a plan of the devas- 
tated area from the Commune. On this Captain Enthoven, who had by now 
succeeded Captain Croft-Murray as officer for Florence City .amg, indi- 
cated by numbers every structure for which we and the Superintendency as- 
sumed responsibility. General Hume wrote a firm letter quoting his authority 
from General Clark and requesting the adoption of our plan. There were no 
further difficulties and our work in the area continued. The appearance of the 
city of Florence will retain for all time the evidence of the energetic aid of 
General Hume and the care and precision of Captain Enthoven. 

By the end of September, however. Captain Enthoven was called away and 
replaced by Captain Pinsent, whose wisdom and tact avoided all friction with 
the engineers. The work in the devastated area now proceeded in a rational 
manner. Aside from a few fragments of minor importance, the work concerned 
two damaged facades which faced each other across Via Guicciardini, five dam- 
aged towers which still stood, although roofless and water-soaked, the church 
of Santo Stefano al Ponte, the roofless Palazzo di Parte Guelfa, and the small 


section of Palazzo Acciaioli which still remained standing (Figs. 7, 8) with 
two-thirds of the Poccetti frescoes adhering miraculously to its walls (Fig. 10). 
Detailed surveys of the area were made by Captain Pinsent and Engineer Mo- 
rozzi of the Superintendency, and the plan of work decided upon. One tower 
had to be pulled down, the foundations being completely shattered. Three 
were merely unroofed and badly shaken, and their repair w'as no problem. 
But the immense Torre degli Amidei, in the center of Por Santa Maria, was 
in even worse condition than the Torre di Parte Guelfa (Figs, ii, 12). The 
responsibility for the lives of the passers-by was so grave that few wished to 
assume it. The engineers agreed to drive their roadway in a loop around the 
ruin, and the Superintendency then proceeded, about the middle of September, 
to shore and chain the one completely standing w'all. Beams strong enough to 
hold this wall were unobtainable until I heard from one of the architects that 
some colossal timbers had been abandoned by an Allied unit at the top of the 
hill on the other side of the river. Unable to discover to whom they belonged, 
I obtained a truck and hauled the monstrous timbers back, on a long route 
around the city, to Por Santa Maria. A concrete base was built for them, and 
the first series of struts went up at once (Fig. 12). 

For a while everyone despaired of being able to save the tower, even after 
the cracks in the masonry had been reworked and the top bound by clamps. 
Eventually, however, the shoring was replaced by a brick spur, and in March the 
spur extended, as a continuous core, to complete all the missing portions of the 
tower, carefully planned to serve as a framework for the original stones, which 
were reused to cover the facade (Fig. 13). When I returned in February 1946, 
I found that the Florentines had completed the building on their own, the 
pointed arches and the windows had been completely reconstructed from draw’- 
ings and photographs with the original stones, the lions’ heads were in place, 
and the imposing tower needed only a few years of weathering to give a patina 
to the new' mortar (Fig. 14). We had thus proved that reconstruction of the 
shattered mediaeval buildings was not only feasible but desirable. 

One can only wonder what the final solution will be. The melancholv Flor- 
entine ruins have been the subject of a long controversy betw’een those w'hose 
purist gorges rise at the slightest mention of a “forgery” and the lovers of the 
old Florence who believe it possible to reconstruct every street. The truth lies 
somew'here betw'een. The Superintendency possesses so many and such detailed 
photographs of certain buildings and streets, particularly the famous line of 
houses hanging over the river, that an exact reconstruction is surely possible 
down to the last roof tile and the last spot on the intonaco. In many cases exist- 
ing fragments can serve as the model for W'hat has disappeared. In all cases the 
ground plan is known and measurable. But in little-photographed streets it 

{ 55 } 


will never be possible to rebuild exactly, and the solution should consist in the 
maintenance of the same roof line, the same coloring of intonaco, and a simple, 
Tuscan house style that any master mason in Florence can still produce. 

The problem of roof tiles to replace those smashed by the explosions and the 
prolonged shelling was as diflScult in Florence as anywhere else. Poggi had one 
windfall, however. The Fortezza di Belvedere, by Buontalenti, had long been 
spoiled by a group of barracks erected in its garden by the Fascist army. After 
September 8, 1943, the Superintendency resumed control of the entire area, 
and the barracks served as a mine for roof tiles, sufficient to cover all the shell 
holes in the church roofs and the frescoed loggia of the Uffizi. But this did not 
cover the galleries of the Uffizi, in which one could wade up to the ankles dur- 
ing the aummn rains, or the scores of damaged monuments throughout the 
provinces. In late October, looking out through the glassless windows of the 
Uffizi, it seemed as if the whole structure, and indeed the frail city of Florence, 
would be washed away by the ceaseless downpour. Repeated interventions by 
Captain Pinsent, Captain Enthoven, and me brought driblets of tiles flowing 
from the few reactivated tileworks, but only a small fraction of what we 
needed. Yet by spring the Uffizi was dry and safe, the first consignments of 
glass began to arrive from the reactivated glass factories, and some of the sky- 
lights could be repaired. Most windows had to be covered with oil paper for 
a long time, however, and almost every monumental church in Florence re- 
quired repairs of some kind. 

Aside from the devastated area, the principal salvage problem was Ponte 
Santa Trinita, of which nothing remained save the two piers and the abutments, 
heavily damaged above but well preserved at the bases. All four of the Man- 
nerist statues were smashed, and sections of these fell into the river. Any salvage 
operations were complicated by the fact that the Bailey bridge across the wreck- 
age w'as the principal means of communication across the river, and further 
by the security problem involved in the location of the front in the very out- 
skirts of the city. Yet in spite of all this, salvage operations were started only 
a week or so after the liberation of the city, under the direction of the young 
sculptor, Giannetto Mannucci. 

Small fragments which might be destroyed by engineering troops building 
the Bailey bridge were the first to be removed to safety. Large sections of the 
figures of Spring, Summer, and Winter were found on the Lungarno and car- 
ried in handcarts and barrows, those on the north bank to the Uffizi and those 
on the south to the Pitti. The principal portions of Giovanni Caccini’s Autumn 
appeared under layers of rubble in the bed of the river. By swimming and by 
the use of a homemade raft, after the early rains of September, all the pieces 
of one of the two principal cartouches were recovered, and the head of Autumn 

{ 56 } 


was found in five feet of water. Horrible sights attended the work. At one time, 
when Mannucci was diving for fragments, a severed human head kept rotating 
in an eddy at this very point, staring him in the face when he rose to the sur- 

Aside from the many minute fragments. Autumn was broken into five 
principal pieces, and Summer and Winter into four each. Francavilla’s lovely 
Spring, being much more delicate, was shattered into innumerable fragments. 
But the only important piece still missing from the group is the head of Spring, 
which is reported to have been seen on the Lungarni in the first days of the 
hberation, but which subsequently vanished. Searches and appeals for the re- 
turn of the head alike proved useless. 

While the restoration of the statues proceeded, the weight of the flood in 
the Arno threatened by the end of October to corrode and carry away what re- 
mained of the piers. These had to be partially dismantled, with each piece 
numbered, preliminary to reinforcement. In November Riccardo Gizdulich, 
an architect, undertook the work, and has been responsible for all subsequent 
studies of the bridge. Gizdulich has executed complete measured drawings of 
all remaining fragments, and also twenty-one plaster casts of various sections, 
recovered from the river bottom. The complete elevations made by Gizdulich 
from these studies, from photographs, previous drawings, and measurements 
of the ruins, are sufiicient to insure an extremely accurate reproduction of the 
original bridge. The remarkable restoration of statues and decorative ele- 
ments by Mannucci will enable the Florentines to reconstruct a bridge hardly 
distinguishable from the destroyed masterpiece. The money to do so is rapidly 
being raised by the Florentines, aided by impressive contributions from Ameri- 
can private citizens. 

* * * 

On the pine-wooded ridge that separates the valleys of the Greve and the 
Ema, in a spot first settled by the ancient Etruscans, stands the town of Im- 
pruneta, whose chief glory is the basilica of Santa Maria, consecrated in the 
year 1054. The wide square before the arcaded portico of the basilica is yearly 
the scene of a famous fair, whose seventeenth century aspect is preserved for 
us in a celebrated engraving by Jacques Callot. The interior of the basilica, ex- 
tensively converted in the late Renaissance and lined with altarpieces by six- 
teenth and seventeenth century painters, was filled with a golden light re- 
flected from the magnificent cai'ved and gilded baroque ceiling (Fig. 15). On 
the high altar stood a gigantic Gothic altarpiece, by the Trecento painters, 
Pietro Nelli and Tommaso del Mazza. Although these painters are otherwise 
hardly known, their polyptych with its twenty-eight panels and fourteen golden 

{ 57 } 


pinnacles was not only the largest Italian Gothic altarpiece but one of the most 
complete examples of the iconography of the Virgin (Figs. 20, 21). 

On either side of the apse stood two superb shrines, the chapel of the Madonna 
and the chapel of the Cross. The severe beauty of the fluted Corinthian columns 
and massive entablatures, carved from hard, grey pietra alberese according to 
the designs of Michelozzo, framed the coloristic and formal perfection of the 
glazed terra cotta reliefs and ceilings of Luca della Robbia. 

Only a military historian with access to all the documents of the Air Force 
could clarify the reasons for the two American air attacks on the town of 
Impruneta after the Germans had left. It was perhaps another case of the 
frequent failure of Allied Intelligence. But whatever the reason, the two bom- 
bardments ruined a considerable section of the town and killed a large number 
of refugees. We entered the basilica on August 15 to find a scene of utter 
devastation (Fig. 16). The roof tiles were blown away, and the light pouring 
through the shattered beams fell on masses of wood and rubble piled twenty 
feet high in the interior. On top of this lay a covering of splinters and rags, all 
that was left of the baroque ceiling. The apse with its roof and triumphal arch 
had disappeared almost completely, so that we looked out into empty sky. 
Somewhere under all this wreckage might be the pieces of the huge polyptych, 
on which the bomb had exploded. 

Like a log-jam on an Alaskan river, the smashed beams were piled over the 
ruins of the tempietti of Michelozzo and Luca della Robbia. The altarpieces by 
Rosselli, Allori, and Empoli were torn by flying fragments, and the Assumption 
by Cigoli reduced to rags. Fortunately the Passignano altarpiece escaped, having 
been removed for the Mostra del Cinquecento. The frieze of charming Sette- 
cento paintings, largely by Domenico Ferretti, which ran around the eaves, 
was badly mutilated. Three of the pictures were torn to ribbons, and the others 
were in imminent danger of destruction by the weather. But the crowning hor- 
ror was the fact that the entire right wall of the basilica had been blown out- 
ward by the explosions, and was leaning so sharply that we expected its col- 
lapse from one moment to the next. The heavy Trecento roof timbers, still 
standing over the greater portion of the nave, held onto this wall only by their 
finger tips. Should they fall, the leaning wall, too, would crash, and the shock 
would probably destroy the left wall as well. There would be nothing left but 
the facade. 

The rest of that day we crawled over the beams and the rubble, to determine 
what was still salvageable. I don't think it occurred to any of us that we were 
in danger of being crushed at any moment, so great was our concern over what 
had been lost. Of the Robbia reliefs the (dTucifixion was the most nearly intact j 
only the left arm of the Christ and the head of the sorrowing Virgin were broken 

{ 58 } 


away (Fig. i8). The pediment was partly smashed and the two saints had fallen 
forward to be covered by the rubble. The predella was below the level of the 
rubble and could not be seen. The saints flanking the tabernacle of the Ma- 
donna were badly broken. The terra cotta ceilings had disappeared under the 
rubble, the columns of the right tempietto were broken off, and those of the 
left tottered into the wreckage, still valiantly upholding the front of the en- 
tablature which everywhere else was destroyed. The entablature of the chapel 
of the Cross had held a frieze of putti and garlands by Michelozzo, which, 
being of stucco, must have been pulverized. 

As we worked, the heat intensified the stench of six bodies, victims of the 
first raid, which were awaiting interment when the basilica was hit for the 
second time, burying them finally before the chapel of the Madonna, under 
tons of rubble. To add to the gruesomeness, the Renaissance tomb of Bishop 
Antonio degli Agli, who died in 1477, which had stood in the right transept, 
had been ripped open and the bones and pathetic rags of brown and dried flesh 
spilled out upon the wreckage. Although the skull had fallen, the rich fifteenth 
century brocade cushion was still in place. 

Although one of the two sacristies had been battered by the bomb that 
wrought so much damage to the Renaissance furnishings, the Trecento and 
Quattrocento pictures and other precious objects preserved there were only 
slightly scratched. The cloisters, a small and interesting one from the Quat- 
trocento and a much larger two-story Trecento structure, were intact save for 
the usual damage to tiles and beams. 

Undaunted by the immense proportions of the disaster, Procacci at once 
proceeded to organize salvage operations — ten short days after the destruction 
of the center of Florence and his own liberation. Ten local workmen were hired, 
directed by four overseers working in shifts. The work began at once. Before 
the middle of September the rubble had been cleared from the church. The 
ten workmen labored with the energy of forty, cutting a sort of corridor 
through the rubble (all with handbarrows and shovels), until they reached 
the tempietti. From there on every microscopic fragment of terra cotta and 
stone was carefully examined to see if it might not form a part, however in- 
significant, of the Robbia reliefs or of the Michelozzo shrines. The rubble was 
sorted out, every usable brick or stone or timber being set apart in the cloisters. 
The architectural fragments were placed in the cleared nave of the church, 
and near them the Robbia reliefs, whose standing sections were detached care- 
fully from the walls. The altarpieces were taken down, and with ladders bor- 
rowed from the Florence fire department the eighteenth century pictures, in 
spite of their size and weight, were removed and lowered, even from the 
leaning wall. The work of the first weeks went on at continual danger to life 

{ 59 } 


and limb, and all the while that the rubble was being cleared and the works 
of art and fragments transported to Florence, almost the entire piazza of Im- 
pruneta was filled with steel Bailey bridges to be used in the September ofien- 

Before long it became necessary to reach a decision concerning the leaning 
wall. Luckily the primitive Romanesque campanile was still standing. This 
was made to serve as a prop for the leaning wall by filling the intervening space 
with timber shoring. But the situation could not continue, for the strain on 
the campanile was excessive, and the horizontal cracks in the wall would 
sooner or later cause it to collapse. Early in September Poggi proposed that the 
roof timbers be shored up by a system of wooden scaffolding from the floor 
while the entire leaning wall was dismantled, the stones numbered and the wall 
rebuilt. It was a very expensive plan, but seemed to be the only solution, and 
work began immediately under the competent supervision of Engineer Mario 
Rossi. Before the end of September the interior of the basilica was a forest of 
scaffolding supporting the timbers. The demolition of the leaning wall began. 

Meanwhile, the thousands of minute fragments of the Robbia reliefs, re- 
covered through three siftings of mountains of rubble, had been taken in the 
decrepit Superintendency truck, using amg gasoline, to Florence, where the 
laborious work of recomposition was begun (Fig. 19). But not all the pieces 
had been found ; and chief among the missing elements was the head of Saint 
Romulus, one of the two saints flanking the tabernacle of the Madonna. One 
day in November I returned to find a note from Procacci on my desk. The 
head had been found, and in a most extraordinary way. It was discovered in- 
side the closed altar below the tabernacle. Apparently in the violence of the 
explosion the altarstone had split apart at the exact moment that the head of 
the saint had fallen from his body, and then clapped-to a fraction of a second 
after the head landed in the open altar, just before the shower of rubble from 
the ceiling and walls descended to bury altar and all. The complete tabernacles 
with all their figures could now be reconstructed, with the sole exception of 
the tiny Madonna relief, which had lost the chin of the Virgin and the head 
of the Christ Child. All winter the meticulous work went on; by summer the 
rehefs were complete and the ceilings nearing completion. In the winter of 
1946-1947 the rescued statue of Saint Romulus went on tour in the United 
States, as part of the exhibition, “War’s Toil of Italian Art.” 

In December the demolition of the threatening portions of one of the sacris- 
ties brought to light the structure of a fine Gothic chapel, until then unknown, 
with enough of its elements preserved to permit complete restoration. By Janu- 
ary the demolition of the leaning wall was completed and Rossi’s new wall 
begun. By July not only this wall but a new apse following the exact lines of 

{ 60 ; 


die old had been virtually completed (Fig. 17). During the autumn of 1945 the 
new roof beams went up, by winter the roof was completed, and the church 
was again usable. True, it will never be the same. Too badly smashed to be re- 
constructed, the Baroque ceiling was omitted, leaving bare the mediaeval 
timber roof, thus giving the church somewhat the appearance it had before 
the Renaissance and Baroque reconstructions. But of the great Gothic altar- 
piece only the most miserable fragments were ever found (Fig. 21). 

In the immediate environs of Florence the only other artistic tragedy to com- 
pare to the disaster at Impruneta was caused by the deliberate vandalism of 
the Germans at Badia a Settimo. The campanile of the former abbey church, 
cylindrical at the base and octagonal at the top, was an unforgettable landmark 
over the curving river (Fig. 22). On August 4, 1944, the Germans, under the 
pretense that it could have been of use to the Americans as an artillery observa- 
tion post, mined it at the bottom and blew it up completely (Fig. 23). Even 
less excusable was the German demolition of the Colombaione, the bastion 
on the far corner of the abbey. This square tower hardly rose above the tree 
tops. Above the portal which it formerly defended stood a colossal relief sculp- 
ture, representing Christ enthroned between Saints Benedict and Bernard (Fig. 
24). Although the lost heads of the figures had been replaced by simple sphe- 
roids to indicate the approximate proportions, the relief was still the grandest 
example of Romanesque sculpture in the surroundings of Florence. The Ger- 
man soldiers placed their mines in the chamber directly behind the relief, and 
it was at the exact height of the relief that the tower was blown away. Un- 
fortunately the sculpture was of stucco. Not a fragment could be identified in 
the pulverized rubble that covered the lawn below. 

There has been considerable discussion of whether or not the German demoli- 
tion of bell towers was justified. The Allies quite generally shelled them, as 
our artillerymen knew perfectly well the Germans used them for observation 
posts. In certain cases the Germans blew up the campanile out of which they 
had just removed one of their own observation posts. But in other instances 
the blanket order to blow up towers seems to have been obeyed without regard 
to military usefulness. Only two miles behind Badia a Settimo, on the peak 
of a range of considerable hills, stands the tower of San Martino alia Palma, 
commanding a far wider range for artillery, yet this was not mined. The accusa- 
tion of deliberate vandalism is supported by a report of the priest, Don Novello 
Chellini, in which he tells how the Germans used the church and the former 
abbey as artillery targets by day and then recrossed the shallow Arno by night 
to examine the damage they had wrought. The shelling continued for days, 
causing ruin to the abbey roofs and a partial collapse of one of the cloisters. 

{ 61 } 


The crash of the campanile brought with it more than half the left aisle of 
the church, and the beautiful Romanesque wall, which Niccoli’s restorations, 
while he was an architect for the Superintendency in Florence, had so recently 
brought to light, was crushed under the masses of descending masonry. The 
explosions and the shellfire smashed most of the roof tiles, leaving the beamed 
ceiling, with its rich Trecento painted decorations, largely uncovered. At the 
same time one of the walls of the chapel of San Quintino collapsed, damaging 
severely the frescoes by Giovanni da San Giovanni, hlost of the structure was 
luckily intact, including the beautiful apse by a follower of Brunelleschi, with 
its decorations in Della Robbia style. The famous frescoes attributed to Buf- 
falmacco, and already almost indecipherable, suffered no further damage. 
Most of the abbey buildings, long given over to private ownership, were in- 
tact, including the magnificent French Gothic hall and chapter house. 

Shortly after Poggi and I visited the abbey, Nello Baroni, the same architect 
who was working on the roofs for the Florentine towers, started work at Badia 
a Settimo. Our plan did not include for the time being any repairs to the left 
aisle wall. It was intended rather to wall off the aisle from the rest of the 
church, wall up the chapd of San Quintino, and replace the roof tiles to save 
the painted beams. This much was completed by February 1945 ’ The huge 
summit of the campanile, lying still intact on top of the heap of rubble, we 
were able to cast in piaster, preserving its exact shape to serve in any future 
reconstruction. Little else was left of the campanile save the great bronze bells. 

Of the cities in Florence Province, Prato and Empoli suffered the worst 
damage from high explosives. In Prato a raid by American Liberators reduced 
the house of Filippino Lippi to a heap of gravel, in which only a few pieces of 
the original architectural decoration were still intact. But the street tabernacle 
with Its Mcidofinu and Chdd Adofcd by Suints, which Filippino had painted in 
fresco for his house, was completely smashed. The salvation of this work is 
one of the most remarkable stones of the Italian campaign. Leonetto Tinton, 
an expert restorer who has often worked for the Superintendency, had come on 
the scene an hour or so after the bombardment of March 7, 1944, and started 
at once to dig in the rubble for possible fragments of the fresco. He wrapped 
up in handkerchiefs every tiniest piece and, with only a bicycle for transporta- 
tion, carried the remains back to his cottage outside the city. Here, with in- 
credible patience, he labored for months detaching the colored surface of each 
fragment from its plaster and reassembling the whole on a canvas-covered 
panel which had the exact curvature of the original surface of the tabernacle. 

When Giuseppe Marchini. our inspector for Prato and Pistoia, took me out 
to the cottage, the fresco had been already largely recomposed from literally 

{ 62 } 


thousands of fragments. The work had been done with such skill that the 
Madonna stood again in all the sensitive delicacy of Filippino’s imagination, 
the arch of cherubs in the sky as perfect as before, the saints almost complete 
(Figs. 25-27). Not a stroke of repaint marred the work. Where pieces were 
missing no effort had been made to replace them, the intervening plaster being 
left a neutral grey. But the composition was complete and again a thing which 
could be enjoyed, owing not only to Tintori’s skill but to his prompt action 
which spared the shattered fresco a single day’s damage by weather or abrasion. 

The wholesale German demolitions which destroyed so many of the lovely 
Arno valley towns wiped out in Empoli fine Florentine streets, houses, and 
squares, ostensibly to deny passage through the city by blocking all the main 
streets. It apparently never occurred to the Germans that there was a perfectly 
good road that circumnavigated the town entirely. Leaving two of the cam- 
panili that gave the skyline of Empoli its character, they blew up the two finest. 
These fell into the churches, destroying in each case half the building and leav- 
ing the rest open to the sky (Figs. 28, 29). While the green and white marble 
Romanesque facade of the Collegiata was safe, the interior was a heap of rubble 
and broken beams — as badly damaged as Impruneta. The entire right transept 
was destroyed, half the cloister was gone, the baptistery had collapsed, and 
what had been the museum was a crumpled mass of beams and shattered walls. 
The interior of the church was of a fairly cold eighteenth century style, good, 
but not of exceptional importance. But some of the works of art contained in 
it were of supreme value. The Superintendency, when it became aware that 
Empoli might be bombed, had removed as many of these as possible. The 
triptych by Lorenzo Monaco, the bas-relief by Mino da Fiesole, the marvellous 
altarpiece with its marble Saint Sebastian by Antonio Rossellino, painted 
angels by Botticini, and architectural frame by Cecco di Bravo, as well as many 
other works of the Trecento, Quattrocento, and Cinquecento were safe, either 
in Florence or in various deposits. Even the fresco of the Pieta by Masolino, 
the greatest work of art in Empoli, had been carefully detached from its wall 
and taken to Florence. 

But there were certain things that could not be moved. The Annunciation 
by Botticini, two enormous pictures by Cigoli, a large Della Robbia relief, and 
a picture by Jacopo da Empoli were too big to go through the door of the little 
museum, which had apparently been built around them. These were all caught 
in the collapse of the building and smashed to bits. Under the ruins of the bap- 
tistery lay buried a huge baptismal font by a follower of Donatello, a splendid 
example of early Quattrocento architectural ornament. The other Masolino, 
a Madonna lunette in Sant’ Agostino, had also been removed, as had the 
Annunciation statues of Bernardo Rossellino. The whole apse of the church 

{ 63 } 


had collapsed, and its wide Gothic arches held up only fragments of the roof. 
Long and scrupulous work on the part of Procacci had previously succeeded 
in unearthing fragmentary and hitherto unknown frescoes by Masolino and 
Stamina, in the right lateral chapels of Sant’ Agostino, following the docu- 
ments which recorded the commission of these paintings. All the work of 
restoration in both churches had been financed by considerable expenditures 
on the part of an Empoli lawyer, Del Vivo, who for years had served as honor- 
ary inspector of monuments for his native town. Now everything that had been 
brought to light through such sacrifice and labor was either endangered or 
already smashed. 

Our melancholy visit produced for the moment only the plans for the clear- 
ance of the rubble. Del Vivo, notwithstanding the destruction by the Germans 
of his own house and everything in it, was willing to begin all over again and 
follow the work through. He found the laborers, and in a few days the work 
began. Of the smashed and torn pictures, not enough was found to be worth 
preserving. But the pieces of the terra cotta relief were discovered in good 
enough condition to permit reconstruction, for which they were taken back to 
Florence. And ultimately Procacci was able to announce to the Superin tendency 
that the great baptismal font had suffered only negligible damage from the 
tons of rubble precipitated upon it. 

In Sant’ Agostino the chief problem was to keep roof tiles over the frescoes 
so recently discovered. Our workmen made a new roof of undamaged tiles 
gathered from all over the church, left it at night and returned in the morning 
to find that the tiles had disappeared. The aisles were stripped three times, 
until finally the mayor of Empoli provided a guard to prevent further depreda- 
tions. The rubble clearance in the Collegiata was a colossal undertaking, and 
it was February before it could be considered complete. But Sant’ Agostino 
had been less gravely damaged, and in January began the task of erecting walls 
to close off the two-thirds of the church which was still more or less intact, 
and which contained the precious early Quattrocento frescoes and the fine 
Baroque chapel frescoed by Volterrano. In March reconstruction began on the 
transept of the Collegiata, the destroyed portion of the nave, and the rooms 
of the museum and the baptistery. New roof beams had to be placed over the 
nave, and in early summer these were completed. By the autumn of 1945 both 
churches were ready for the public again, even the Baroque ceiling of the 
Collegiata restored, although only the interest of future years will provide, as 
in Badia a Settimo and so many other mutilated churches throughout Italy, 
the missing campanili. 

During the early days of the liberation of Florence one of the ,most constant 
worries in the minds of art lovers in America. England, and Italy concerned 
not a place but a person. Whatever future scholarship may discover, whatever 

{ 64 } 


shifts in evaluation may be made by the taste of changing epochs, the prin- 
ciples laid down by Bernard Berenson will always underlie our knowledge 
of the painting of the Trecento, the Quattrocento, and a good part of the Cinque- 
cento. And our methods for the investigation of problems of attribution will 
always to a great extent be his. At “I Tatti,” close to Settignano, the cypresses, 
the gardens, and the rooms lined with works of the period which Berenson 
helped to discover were the setting for a cultural life that gathered artists, writ- 
ers, scholars, musicians, philosophers, political figures of every nation to enjoy 
the conversation of this brilliant personality. By nationality, origin, and un- 
concealed political conviction Berenson was a shining target for Fascist hatred. 
During the years before the war his international importance was such that 
Fascism was able to do little to harm him or to hinder the life at “I Tatti.” 
But the new and more virulent form of Fascism which had broken out under 
the German occupation and after September 8, 1943, was another story. Danger 
to Berenson at the hands of the SS or of Mussolini’s terror gangs was bitterly 
real. Yet no one in Rome or in Florence seemed to know what had become 
of him. 

“I Tatti” was still within the German lines when, on August 14, in front of 
the Excelsior Hotel Captain Pennoyer excitedly presented to me Prof. Giovanni 
Colacicchi, director of the Accademia di Belle Arti, who had come to the Ex- 
celsior expressly to locate some Allied officer who would know what the name 
of Berenson meant. By good fortune he found Pennoyer. Professor Colacicchi 
revealed that Berenson had been in hiding near Florence for nearly a year, 
ever since the eighth of September. He had been offered asylum in a villa 
called “Le Fontanelle,” near the hospital at Careggi. The house enjoyed diplo- 
matic protection as the home of His Excellency Marquis Filippo Serlupi-Cres- 
cenzi. Minister Plenipotentiary and Ambassador Extraordinary of the Republic 
of San Marino to the Holy See. Here, provided with false identification papers, 
Berenson lived in retirement surrounded by the Serlupi family, his generous 
and kind friends, who risked their lives for his protection. But although the 
best of his collection was at “Le Fontanelle,” thirty pictures had been taken 
to a house in Borgo San Jacopo in Florence, where they were later caught in 
the crash of one whole side of the mined building. 

“Le Fontanelle” was still inside the German lines (indeed the first German 
outposts were hardly more than half a mile from where we were talking that 
moment), but at least we were able to visit Borgo San Jacopo. We made our 
way over the rubble to the house, number 18, wary of possible mines. In the 
general devastation it was impossible to tell in what portion of the house the 
pictures had been, so all hope of excavating had to be renounced until we 
could get more accurate information. But I arranged at once for an Italian 
police guard to be put on the building to keep looters out. A fortnight later 

( 65 } 


Signor Luigi Albrighi and Berenson’s restorer, Prof. Giannino Marchig, came 
to my office to request permission to proceed with the excavation, assuming all 
responsibility for the pictures, and they began work at once. 

Pennoyer had informed Allied Intelligence officers of the importance of 
locating Berenson as soon as possible, but we did not yet know whether he was 
dead or alive. Not till September 2 did Albrighi and Marchig come to tell me 
that, according to their information, the area around Careggi had been liber- 
ated and that the way was open to “Le Fontanelle.” Although efforts to obtain 
information from military units encountered on the way failed as usual to 
produce anything precise, we continued on a fairly exciting trip through the 
Florentine suburbs and the lanes bordering the great Careggi hospital, arriving 
at the villa to find it perforated by shells. We were informed by Serlupi-Cres- 
cenzi that Berenson was alive and well, and in a few minutes I was taken to 
him. He was resting on a chaise longue in an upper room, terribly pale 
and suffering somewhat from shock, but otherwise perfectly safe. 

It had been a difficult experience for a man of seventy-nine. The villa had 
been hit by more than thirty small-caliber shells during a bombardment that 
lasted seven days and nights. Berenson and the Serlupi family had taken refuge 
in two small rooms at the back of the villa, safer than any of the others because 
hollowed out of the side of the rock. Shells had passed through the villa quite 
near this shelter, and at one time Berenson had narrowly escaped being struck 
by a shell when he left the room for a few minutes. Shells had burst in the living 
room, which contained the precious paintings, but only one or two small frag- 
ments were embedded in the masses of protective cushions, blankets, and up- 
holstery, and the surfaces of the pictures themselves were unscratched. The 
fighting in the area had ceased only the morning before, and shortly afterward 
Major Samson, the amg displaced persons officer, had arrived, depriving me of 
the honor of being the first Allied soldier to reach Berenson. 

Before long “I Tatti” was liberated, the damage repaired, the pictures brought 
back to their places, the great library to its shelves from the refuges where it 
had been concealed in Florence, and Berenson himself returned to change his 
exiled retirement for a triumphant life of converse with innumerable Italian 
friends and Allied visitors. My own weekly visits to “I Tatti" were the hap- 
piest hours spent in all that year of ceaseless work. Eventually even the shat- 
tered pictures from Borgo San Jacopo began to return. Through the skill of 
Giannino Marchig most of them had been saved. Only nine of the thirty small 
paintings were damaged beyond redemption, even by Marchig. But “I Tatti,” 
with its illustrious occupant and priceless treasure of books and paintings, was 
once more safe. After all these years our Off Limits sign still hangs on the 
gate below the cypresses. 

{ 66 } 



O UR responsibility for the Florentine deposits by no means ceased with 
the discovery and guarding of Montegufoni and its neighboring vil- 
las. Ten more deposits formed by the Superintendency were visited 
in the month of September alone, and our discoveries more than doubled the 
imposing list of works of art stolen by the Germans. Santomato, Striano, Incisa, 
and Scarperia had all been evacuated and their contents returned to Florence 
before the liberation. The stained glass of the Duomo was all safe in the villa 
of Comm. De Marinis at Montalto, near Maiano. A very extensive deposit of 
the important works from the Pitti and the UfEzi was stored at Poggio Im- 
periale, in the southern outskirts of Florence. But a considerable section of the 
artistic treasure of the city was still to be accounted for. 

After what we had seen at Montagnana and Oliveto, the fate of these works 
of art was a matter for grave concern. Nor was our worry alleviated by Poggi’s 
account of an ominous visit to his office in the last days of the German occupa- 
tion. A certain Colonel Baumann of the German SS, accompanied by another 
officer and an interpreter, presented himself at the Superintendency on the 
morning of July 26, 1944. 

“Colonel Baumann,” reads Poggi’s report, “claimed to have an order from 
Himmler, in accordance with agreements between Hitler and Mussolini, to 
transport to northern Italy the most precious works of art of the city of Flor- 
ence, in order to save them from the rapine of the American troops. I replied 
that the orders of my Government, also in accordance with recent agreements 
concluded with Minister Pavolini, who had been in Florence, were to leave 
the works in the city, and that in any case there were in Florence no movable 
and easily transportable works of art, these being all in distant deposits. There 
were only works of secondary importance, unpacked, and therefore not in 
condition to withstand a long journey if not first boxed. There were also works 
of sculpture of the greatest importance, but too large to carry away. 

“Colonel Baumann replied that he had all the means necessary for loading 
and transporting, and precise orders to provide for the transport at all cost. I 
asked him to go with me and talk to Consul Wolf. We went, and the Consul 
confirmed what had been said. Colonel Baumann declared sharply that he 
would have to ask for further instructions. Immediately afterward I accom- 
panied him and his companions to see the deposits where the large works of 
art were — the courtyard of the Pitti, the shelter under the Loggia dei Lanzi, 
the armor hall in the Bargello. He was persuaded that it was not possible to 
transport such works, given the brief time available. 

{ 67 } 


“On the morning of the following day, July 27, he returned, insisting on the 
transport of other objects in conformity with the orders he had received. I 
repeated my arguments, and I added that according to recent agreements be- 
tween Minister Pavolini, the Podesta of Florence, and the Cardinal Archbishop, 
who had assumed protection of the works of art in the city in the name of 
the Vatican, I would be able to consign nothing without the authority of the 
Cardinal. Colonel Baumann, after many objections and even threats, appeared 
finally to give in to my arguments. He asked me if there were any works of 
art of private property to place in safety; I answered that I believed that those 
few important ones which still remained in private possession had been taken 
out of Florence at the beginning of the war, to protect them against air raids. 
The Colonel left, telling me that he would return at eleven to go with me to 
Consul Wolf and inform me of his decision. He returned instead at twelve 
to tell me that he had given up his conversation with Wolf, and to take leave.” 

The superintendent’s matter-of-fact report omits to state that at the time he 
was showing Colonel Baumann enormous works of sculpture, such as the 
baptistery doors and Cellini’s Perseus, which could not possibly be moved with 
the means and in the time available, there were in Florence all the most im- 
portant pictures from Arezzo, including the polyptych by Pietro Lorenzetti 
from the Pieve, the best things from Empoli, including the Masolino Piela and 
the Si. Sebastian by Rossellino, the Fra Angelico Annunciation from Monte- 
carlo, the Piero Della Francesca Madonna della Misericordia from Borgo Sanse- 
polcro, the Ambrogio Lorenzetti Madonna from Vico I’Abbate, as well as many 
other pictures of great importance, and the entire contents of the Gabinetto dei 
Disegni of the Uffizi, just back from outlying deposits, and still in their boxes. 
This the Colonel was never permitted to discover. 

Against such a background the reader may well imagine our feelings on 
receiving on August 31 the following message, dated August 27, from acc 
headquarters in Rome; “Swiss Government informed by German Legation at 
Berne that German authorities have stored in \illa reale poggio a caiano five 
kilometers northwest of Signa valuable artistic collections and archives con- 
cerning Tuscan Renaissance works. Stated by German Government that there 
are in neighborhood villa re.vle no repeat no German troops and villa reale 
itself not used for military purposes. German Government desires to inform 
British and American Governments of its desire to avoid bombardment or 
destruction villa reale. Grateful you inform Army amg of contents of this 
message.” We informed them, if they needed any such information, for on 
the twenty-third, twenty-fourth, and twenty-fifth the German radio had been 
bombarding us with similar announcements. We were not long in doubt of 
the reasons for this extraordinary campaign. Only a few days later, on Septem- 

( 68 } 


ber 5, the push across the Arno made it possible to reach Poggio a Caiano. 
Professor Rossi, who was responsible for all the deposits of the Florence Super- 
intendency, set off with me in the early morning for Poggio. On arrival at a 
point where the roof of the Villa Medici could be distinctly seen over the tree 
tops of the surrounding park, we found that the bridge over the canal had 
been blown. We therefore left the jeep with the proprietor of a neighboring 
house, and Rossi, Franco, and I waded the canal, climbed the other bank, 
and found ourselves greeted as liberators by a village which had never before 
seen an AlUed officer. The Germans had left two or three days before, and 
the Allied advances had skirted the town. 

At the viUa we had a reception of a very different sort. The custodian, Giu- 
seppe de Luca, met us under the arches of the portico, with the announcement 
that, despite all his efforts and the earnest protest of the local clergy, who 
pointed out that the villa and everything in it was under the protection of 
the Vatican, the Germans had made off with fifty-eight cases of sculpture, 
including the Satnl George of Donatello, during the days when they were 
broadcasting appeals to the Allies not to bombard the villa! 

Donatello’s Saint George! What loss could Florence have felt more keenly.? 
The ideal hero, the saintly warrior, represented for the Florentines the very 
incarnation of the martial vigor of their lost republic. And this was only the 
beginning of the list of sculptural masterpieces that the Germans removed 
under cover of their perfidious broadcast. Three other works by Donatello 
were on the list; the Marzocco, the marble David from the Bargello, and the 
Annunciation relief from Santa Croce. Michelangelo’s Bacchus was gone. So 
were two fine Madonna reliefs by Michelozzo, a Madonna and the Resurrection 
by Verrocchio, and a considerable group of other works of Renaissance sculp- 
ture. So was a long series of ancient statues from the Uffizi, including one of 
the Dying Giants of the school of Pergamon and the Medici Venus. 

Unarmed and powerless to prevent the rape of these treasures, De Luca had 
successfully insisted that the Germans sign a document assuming responsibility 
for the theft, and admitting that General Kesselring’s order of protection and 
the Cardinal’s letter placing the villa and its contents under the aegis of the 
Holy See had been called to their attention. At the end of the first inventory 
of the objects, taken on August 23, are these words in German script: 

Plenipotentiar)' General of the German Armed Forces in 
Italy, Chief of Military Government, Department of Art 

by order. Prof. Reidemeister 
Military Government Adviser.’’ 

^ “Bevollmachtigter General der deutschen Wehrmacht in Itaiien, Chef der Militar- 
vervvaltung Abtg. Kunstschutz i. Prof. Reidemeister M. v. Rat.” 

( 69 } 


The second inventory, dated August 26, is signed by a Lieutenant Wawrowetz. 
The general referred to is of course General Wolff, the head of the SS in Italy, 
the “Chief” is Langsdorff, and Reidemeister was Langsdorff’s principal assist- 
ant, of whom we shall hear much. 

None of the works of art from Prato — the entire contents of the Museo 
Civico — had been touched, and the precious reliefs by Nicola and Giovanni 
Pisano from the Pisa pulpits were still walled up. But it was some time before 
any of us regained our composure. Our one gratification was that the many 
shells that had struck the villa had caused no damage to the architectural de- 
tails nor to the wonderful frescoed hall. After giving De Luca an Off Limits 
sign for the villa, we returned to Florence. That night I sent to Major DeWald 
in Rome a telegram I could scarcely believe myself. 

Only ten days later came an agitated message from De Luca; the villa had 
been requisitioned in spite of the Off Limits sign. I went at once to investigate, 
and found that the occupying unit was the 54th South African Field Dressing 
Station. Major Morton, the commanding officer, had received permission to 
use the villa through a misunderstanding. The Major told me that in the coun- 
try around Poggio there was no other building large enough to contain all the 
activities of his hospital, which took casualties as they came from the battlefield 
and gave them their first surgical treatment. There could of course be no 
question but that the dressing station be permitted to use the building. The 
Major took me on a tour of the hospital. The smaller rooms were in use as 
bandaging rooms, operating rooms, and medical storage rooms, and the great 
hall was the ward. Under the coffered barrel vault the lyrical Vertumnus and 
Pomona of Pontormo looked down on fifty beds filled with wounded South 
African soldiers. I have sometimes wished I had taken a picture of the great 
hall as it was then, so harrowing was the contrast between the suffering of 
tlie soldiers and the splendor of the Renaissance. Yet at the time the thought 
of making a photograph never occurred to me; it would have seemed almost 

Major Morton's concern for the safety of the villa and its contents under 
such circumstances was touching in the extreme. The strictest orders were 
given to all his men. and these orders were meticulously complied with. Be- 
fore he left. Major Morton wrote to thank me for the use of the villa. During 
the period in which his unit was there, he said, 199 severe battle casualties 
were treated — before the frescoes of Pontormo, Andrea Del Sarto, and Ales- 
sandro Allori. 

The most important deposits of the Superintendency still to be visited lav 
in the Casentino, that green valley in the Apennines where the Arno starts 
southward on its first triumphant rush. Here, in the Palazzo Pretorio at Poppi 


and the monastery of Camaldoli were all the rest of the great treasures of the 
Pitti and the Uffizi, more than half of the total. Unfortunately, during these 
days the fighting had left the Casentino in a sort of backwater. The valley 
and its surrounding mountain masses (Pratomagno, Alpe di Catenaia, Alpe 
di Serra) suffered a protracted occupation by SS and German paratrooper 
units, who carried on for two months a campaign of plunder, terror, and mur- 
derous reprisals against local populations, actually thirty miles sotith of the 
Allied advances. 

On September 7 in Arezzo I made my first attempt to get to Poppi, but the 
Casentino was still occupied by Germans. On September 18 I tried again from 
Florence, thinking to cut the journey short by taking the road over the Con- 
suma, the pass that descends into the Casentino from the Pratomagno, due east 
of Florence. We arrived at the village of Consuma, at thirty-two hundred feet, 
in the middle of a cold fog. At the other side of the village was a laconic sign 
across the road : this is the front. In the village we learned that the area was 
only lightly held by an Italian paratrooper unit in British uniforms and under 
British command, and that the Germans marauded at will through the ridges 
and forests of the Pratomagno. About four miles up the road German patrols 
had a most convenient crossing. While we might conceivably pass that point, 
there was small certainty. A week later, September 25, we tried it again. This 
time the road was open, yet so much of it was demolished by the Germans that 
we were often forced into open fields for considerable distances, over rocky 
ledges and along streambeds where only light tanks had been before us. 

Reports by the peasants that the Germans had carried off everything from 
Poppi increased our pessimism. Taking a by-pass around the gutted village of 
Borgo alia Collina, blown up by the Germans, we could already distinguish 
under the gloomy cloud masses and through intermittent rainstorms the tower 
of the castle of Poppi, from which in the Middle Ages the Guidi family domi- 
nated the Casentino. We had to ford the howling Arno twice before we finally 
reached the hill of Poppi itself and, since the mediaeval town gate, with all its 
surrounding houses, had been blown up by the Germans, we entered the town 
by a rear gate, difficult of access across narrow lanes. The beautiful arcaded 
streets were intact and, save for a few shell holes, so was the castle. Examination 
of the deposit within showed that most of the pictures were still there, all in 
boxes and cases carefully cleared together. Only one truckload was missing, 
between twenty-five and thirty cases. With a sense of relief I made out by 
candlelight such labels as Botticelli, Birth of Venus \ Leonardo da Vinci, 
Adoration of the Magi\ Filippo Lippi, Madonna and Child with Angels — at 
least the major part of the deposit was safe. 

It was not until I returned to Poppi on September 27 with Rossi and the 

( 71 } 


inventories that we found what it was the Germans had loaded on that one 
truck. One hundred ninety-six paintings were missing. This was a raid sur- 
passed in scale only by the gigantic theft from Montagnana. Three Raphaels 
were gone, the early Self Portrait, the portrait of Cardinal Bibbiena, and the 
marvellous Donna Velata. Two Madonnas by Botticelli, Titian’s Concert, three 
paintings by Andrea Del Sarto, Diirer’s Calvary, a Madonna and Child by Cor- 
reggio, the late Rembrandt Portrait of an Old Man, the Rubens Holy Family, 
Watteau’s Flute Player, all were missing. What was particularly interesting was 
the number of German, Flemish, and Dutch pictures that had been taken. 
Five Diirers, seven Cranachs, one Breughel, one Holbein, four Memlings, and 
works by Ruysdael, Steen, }oos Van Cleve, Terborch, Teniers, and many other 
northern painters were on the list, seeming to show a particular interest on the 
part of the Germans in getting as many German or Germanic pictures as pos- 

According to a series of sworn statements from various citizens of the town 
of Poppi, the raid took place under the most dramatic circumstances, with 
every accompaniment of treachery and violence. About August i 8 a German 
officer visited the acting mayor of the Commune of Poppi under the pretext 
of searching for hidden arms. He suggested that the deposit, which he in- 
spected, could be better guarded by walling up the doors. The following day, 
work was started. On August 22, about eight o’clock in the evening, a German 
captain, accompanied by a second lieutenant and a noncommissioned officer, 
arrived at the castle and in a most peremptory manner demanded the keys. 
They began their search with the upper floors, breaking down those doors for 
which keys were not immediately forthcoming. 

On the arrival of an interpreter, the Germans charged that the village was 
a nest of spies and rebels, and demanded to see whether the castle contained 
arms. But the moment they were inside the deposit they revealed their true 
intentions. Drawing their revolvers, they forced the unfortunate town police- 
men who had been brought along by the village officials to carry one of 
the boxes of pictures outside. It then appeared that while the town officials 
had been going through the castle with the Germans, a truck had arrived in 
front of the castle, taking side streets so as not to alarm the population. There- 
upon the three Germans, firing their revolvers to scare away all passers-by, 
loaded the box into their truck, and drove off, after informing the town authori- 
ties that they would be back in a short time, and that until their return no one 
was to approach the castle. 

Around nine o’clock trumpets were sounded by German soldiers in the 
streets, and the town was informed that mines were about to be set off irnder 
the town gate, that the nearby houses were to be evacuated at once, and that 

{ 72 } 


the population was to remain in the cellars until further notice. Then began 
for the unarmed inhabitants an interminable night of waiting in darkness. Ap- 
parently it was midnight when the Germans returned with an unknown num- 
ber of soldiers and a truck and began their work of selection and carrying off. 
At six o’clock on the morning of the twenty-third, according to the testimony 
of the priest, the truck left. At nine the acting mayor resolved to go to the 
castle, although the mines had not yet exploded and there might still be Ger- 
mans about. The courtyard was full of the smashed bricks from the new walls, 
doors had been forced, broken and empty boxes littered the interior. 

The oflScials therefore had the outer gate to the castle locked to prevent the en- 
trance of unauthorized persons. At eleven-thirty two German second lieutenants 
arrived; the interpreter and the town officials were recalled, and as the party 
went up to the castle the German officers explained that the entire operation 
was official and had been ordered by the High Command, that it had been 
executed only in order to save the works of art from the damage of war and 
especially from theft by Anglo-American troops, that the German authorities 
were extremely sorry they had not been able to remove all of the works of art, 
and that the remainder would have to be protected by the population. With 
this the two lieutenants ordered that the courtyard be cleaned up at once, 
and for about two hours supervised a hasty job which removed only the most 
obvious signs of violence. At one-thirty they left, and at two the mines ex- 
ploded, blowing up the town gate and the only secure road that united the 
village to the outside world. 

We found many of the smashed cases, some empty, some hastily closed up 
after it was discovered that they contained not pictures but sections of dis- 
mantled Della Robbia reliefs. There was one comical detail, still unexplained. 
An erroneous report appeared in the Florentine newspapers that the Germans 
had taken from Montagnana not the Adam and Eve of Cranach but the rather 
dissimilar portraits by Cranach of Martin Luther and his wife! Yet when we 
arrived in Poppi, where these portraits were supposed to be, we found that this 
time they really were missing. 

The story of the rest of the Casentino deposits is very brief indeed. At Camal- 
doh, the most important one, were stored such things as Botticelli’s Adoration 
of the Magi, the Titian Venus of Urbino, Botticelli’s fuditk, Leonardo’s An- 
nunciation, a Mantegna Madonna, the portraits of Federigo da Montefeltro 
and his wife by Piero Della Francesca. On the twenty-seventh we made a de- 
termined attempt to reach Camaldoli in a blinding rainstorm that converted 
the forest-hung mountain road into a waterfall, but were turned back by blown 
roads. Only by accident did we meet the Father Chamberlain of Camaldoli 
on the road near Poppi. He reported at once that the Germans had not entered 

{ 73 } 


the monastery and nothing had been touched, nor had the buildings suffered 
the slightest war damage. 

Not so fortunate was the deposit of works of sculpture and minor arts from 
the Bargello, the Bigallo, the Carrand collection, and several Florentine 
churches that had been deposited in the Villa Bocci at Soci, near Bibbiena. A 
German hospital had occupied the villa, and the Germans had carried off 
everything, some sixty-nine cases. There was nothing of such universal impor- 
tance as the works missing from Poppi, Poggio a Caiano, and Montagnana, 
but there were many fine things, including large reliefs by Luca and Andrea 
della Robbia. 

After posting the Gastello Guidi at Poppi Off Limits, we returned to Florence, 
satisfied about the safety of what remained in the deposit. The castle itself was 
a secure place, easily locked. There were very few Allied troops in the area, 
so there would be no problem of requisition and no guards would be necessary. 
But we could not help wondering at the selection of works made by the 
Germans. They took, along with the masterpieces, so many pictures of very 
secondary importance and left behind them not only the things I have men- 
tioned earlier but the Doni Madonna by Michelangelo and the Adoration of 
the Magi by Mantegna. 

Another important group of deposits lay in the Mugello, the valley of the 
Sieve some twenty miles from Florence, the home of both Giotto and Fra 
Angelico. The first of these deposits was housed in the Villa Medici at Cafag- 
giolo, but no longer contained much of artistic importance. The Superin- 
tendency had already brought back during the preceding winter the entire 
collection of drawings from the Uffizi, leaving only the largest cartoon draw- 
ings, and had also removed the ninety-five cases of silversmith work which 
formed the Museo degli Argenti of the Pitti Palace. In addition to the cartoons, 
much important botanical material belonging to the University of Florence 
was still in the building. Although part of the structure was occupied by troops, 
the deposits were safe, and Off Limits signs had been posted and respected. 

The next deposit was a large, much modernized castle at Barberino, still 
containing forty-eight cartoons from the UfiSzi, the drawings, as at Cafaggiolo, 
having already been brought back. This villa was occupied by the 34th Division 
Artillery, under the command of Brigadier General Tate. No one apparently 
knew anything about a collection of works of art, and the room where they had 
been was in use as the central control post for the division artillery. I was, 
however, given permission to search the building, and finally, in a dark base- 
ment amid water and every kind of filth I discovered the cartoons. Most of the 
glass and many of the frames were broken. Many of the frames were empty 
and piled loosely in the dark cellar. At the bottom of the stairs was a con- 

/ 'Jd } 


siderable section of the palaeographic library of the University of Florence, 
trodden into unrecognizable muck by the hobnailed boots of the Germans who 
had previously occupied the villa. 

The American ofhcers, including the chaplain, all assured me that the main 
deposit room had been absolutely empty when they arrived, that they had found 
the cartoons in this condition, had not recognized their importance, and had 
not disturbed them further. General Tate soon sent for me, and when I ex- 
plained to him the value of the collection he promised to issue protective orders 
and give me every assistance in removing what remained to Florence. This 
cooperation was the more remarkable as I had to use civilian workmen in 
the middle of a highly operational headquarters, and the security problem in- 
volved would worry any commander. Two days later I returned with a truck 
provided by Fifth Army and workmen from the Superintendency, screened 
by the British Field Security Service, and we began to evacuate the cartoons, 
superintended by the ever-present Rossi. It was a curious spectacle, for the 
General insisted on watching, and demanded a short lecture on every piece 
that left the castle. This I had to deliver to the thunderous accompaniment 
of the General’s artillery and the whistle and crash of German shells so near 
that more than once the workmen ran for cover. 

Rossi’s check of the inventory disclosed the melancholy tidings that twenty- 
five of the cartoons were missing, mostly torn from their frames. The conditions 
under which we found the remainder offered little hope that the missing works 
had been taken by anyone who understood their value or knew how to care 
for them. It was not for many months that it was discovered, when the ma- 
terial belonging to the University of Florence was removed, that nineteen of 
the cartoons were merely mislaid among the books and papers. The losses 
were therefore reduced to six, Callot’s Temptation of St. Anthony., the Tin- 
toretto Christ Borne by Angels, a Madonna by Lorenzo di Credi, and cartoons 
by the Carracci and Furini and after Raphael. 

On the same day as my first visit to Barberino, September 20, I continued 
on through the Mugello to Dicomano, a small village at the foot of the Gothic 
Line, where the Superintendency had deposited a number of works of sculp- 
ture from the Uffizi, mostly classical, in a small, early nineteenth centurv 
church, the Oratory of Sant’ Onofrio. Dicomano was a scene of fantastic 
ruin. In order to block the road which led to the first fortifications of the Gothic 
Line, the Germans had blown up nearly half the town, and British bulldozers 
were just plowing their way through the rubble, in the midst of which stood 
the little church, its doors wide open. There was a cleared area in the front of 
the nave, as if the cases next to the door had been removed, and two or three 
crates stood ready for loading. A complete check, made on my return on Sep- 


tember 23 with Rossi, disclosed that the Germans had taken twenty-six cases 
of sculpture, including the Niobe with her Youngest Daughter and the Uffizi 
version of the Doryphoros of Polykleitos. 

According to the accounts of the few civilians who had returned to the 
ruined town, a German captain, provided with a list of deposits, arrived to 
inspect the Oratory of Sant’ Onofrio only a few days before the destruction of 
the village. Then came the forced evacuation of all the civilians in the town 
and the mines did their deadly work. When the custodian returned to the town, 
after the departure of the Germans, he found the doors of the chapel forced 
and a considerable part of the contents gone, although his inventories had been 
destroyed in the general catastrophe, and he could not verify just what or 
even how many objects had been taken. When Rossi had completed the check- 
ing, a task made doubly difficult by the size of the cases and the lack of elec- 
tricity, we gave orders to the mayor to board up the door, and our job here 
was for the time being at an end. 

None of the other deposits was of such importance, and from none was 
anything missing. In one deposit of works from the churches of Prato, how- 
ever, the misguided zeal of the Partisans had resulted in considerable damage 
to the contents. By early October it was possible to estimate how much of the 
artistic heritage of Tuscany had been carried off and how much still remained. 
The deposits where the works from the museums and churches of Siena, 
Arezzo, Grosseto, Lucca, Pisa, Pistoia, and Livorno had been sheltered were 
intact. Only Florence, the most important of all, had suffered robbery, and 
that on a scale to dwarf the depredations of Napoleon. A grand total of 529 
paintings, 162 works of sculpture and minor arts, 6 large cartoon drawings, 
and 38 pieces of mediaeval and Renaissance textiles had been taken from the 
public collections of Florence, all in all 735 objects. Even in a city as rich in 
works of art as Florence, this represented a staggering proportion. Although 
many of the stolen works, perhaps more than fifty per cent, were things of 
comparatively minor importance, the rest were all works of the very highest 
quality and fame. It is fair to estimate that about one-fourth of the most im- 
portant objects from the museums of Florence disappeared in German hands 
between July 2 and August 23, 1944. 

Most of the thefts bore the mark of official action. None took place with 
the agreement of any Italian authority. Some were accompanied by violence, 
all by treacher}’. These raids occurred in direct violation of promises made by 
the Germans that the works should remain in Florence and in the deposits, 
and at a time when the Germans were protesting their inability to spare any 
transportation to bring the contents of the deposits back to Florence. Only the 
fearless conduct of Superintendent Poggi prevented the departure of even more 

{ 76 } 


treasures, then all present in Florence. Nor was this all. In spite of Poggi, the 
Germans had laid their hands on portions of three private collections, taking 
pictures belonging to the late French banker, M. Finaly, the noted American 
art historian. Mason Perkins, and the art dealer and collector. Count Contini- 
Bonacossi. They made determined attempts to get Berenson’s pictures as well, 
but never discovered their location. In all cases two reasons, equally transparent, 
were adduced: the pictures must be protected against damage by military ac- 
tion, and they must be safeguarded against the plundering troops of the Allies. 
(The only deposit whose contents were in fact damaged by the war was Pop- 
piano, and that by a German shell.) 

I wish it could be said that no Allied soldier had ever taken a work of art, 
but the occasional individual examples of looting and damage by Allied troops 
involved works of little consequence, and the scrupulous sense of responsibility 
for works of art exercised at all levels of AlUed command was in sharp con- 
trast to the German propaganda concerning us. Constant amusement was 
afforded the officers of the Subcommission by the daily German and Fascist Re- 
publican broadcasts, referring to us as the “American art-Jews” who were pil- 
laging Italy. According to these stories the captured works of art were spread 
out for the Allied generals to take their pick, and the remainder went to Amer- 
ica and Britain as fast as the ships could carry them. Every month a convoy was 
assembled in Salerno Bay for this purpose. We had dismantled the cathedral 
of Monreale stone by stone, and sent that along too. A huge auction had taken 
place in New York, in which all the finest things from Sicily were offered for 
sale to the public; the Germans even had a copy of the sale catalogue. When 
in a ceremony at the National Gallery in Washington the late President Roose- 
velt expressed the gratitude of the nation for the gift by Mr. Samuel Henry 
Kress of his splendid collection of Italian paintings, the radio screamed that the 
“Jew” Kress' was giving to the Americans all the treasures of Italy which had 
been stolen by Negro troops. But the humor of the situation wore a bit thin for 
those of us who were then working in the midst of the rubble to which the 
Germans had reduced the center of Florence (after blaming it on us), or strug- 
gling to reach deposits the Germans had just emptied. 

Why did they do it.? At the time they made the haul from Florence the 
Germans had already lost all of western Europe and most of the east as well. 
The end of the war — when they would be forced to disgorge — was only a mat- 
ter of months. They had lost thousands upon thousands of vehicles in the flight 
from Rome, and movements of works of art on such a scale must have been 

' Mr. Kress is of Gentile (German!) origin, and his collection was assembled before the 
war began. Since the war his gifts for the restoration of Italian monuments have totaled 

{ 77 } 


an additional drain on their transportation facilities. It is one of the strangest 
aspects of German mentality that up imtil the end, and even after the end, they 
continued to behave as if they were going to win. Rapine, demolition, plunder, 
and mass murder went on in the Italian villages imtil the very arrival of the 
Allies. The bridges of Verona were blown up exactly a week before the Germans 
in Italy had to surrender. 

To ask all this gave us small comfort. All we knew was that the works of 
art, ostensibly to save them from a few shells that might have hit the roofs 
above them, were exposed to a far greater danger. A third of them had no 
cases or boxes of any kind, and all of them were being moved over mountain 
roads which the Allies were shelling and strafing day and night. The charred 
remnants of German trucks that lined the road from Rome for a hundred 
miles brought visions of what a fighter plane might do to a convoy of works 
of art. And even if these works of art did arrive safely in North Italy or Ger- 
many or wherever, who was to assure us that in a last holocaust of nihilistic 
fury the Germans would not blow them up or set fire to them?^ 

For the Florentines and for us, September added only deeper gloom to the 
despair of August. All we could do was to protect what was left, bringing the 
works of art in the least secure deposits back to Florence as soon as possible, 
profiting by the presence of Fifth Army Headquarters, whose truck companies 
were within easy reach. I received unusual cooperation from Fifth Army Freight 
Section, considering that their main job was to carry supplies to the troops of 
a great army engaged in an extremely diflEcult offensive. With the trucks ob- 
tained from Fifth Army I was able to move supplies in Florence, especially 
the enormous beams for Torre degli Amidei, but particularly to evacuate com- 
pletely Villa Guicciardini at Poppiano and Villa Bossi-Pucci at Montagnana. 

Captain Pennoyer, Rossi, and I took the first convoy of four trucks to Mon- 
tagnana and Poppiano on September i6. One truck was left here, while the 
others went on to Poppiano. With rollers and ropes the only means at the dis- 
posal of the Superintendency, the work of moving the huge Mannerist altar- 
pieces, to say nothing of the slate panels from the Studiolo of Francesco I, was 
heavy indeed. The pushing, groaning, hauling, and easing, interspersed with 
rich Tuscan blasphemy, took the whole day. In the early evening we rejoined 
the fourth truck at Montagnana and started back to Florence. There were not 
enough materials for boxes or crates, so we had to m.ove the pictures as thev 
were, but the weather was perfect and we did not have to worry about open 
trucks. The pictures were packed with cushions of excelsior on the frames, 

® In fact, this nearly occurred in .\ltaussee in Austria, where a Genman order to blow up 
a deposit of over six thousand stolen pictures, including the Ghent Altarpiece by Jan van 
Eyck, was foiled by the .\ustrian miners. 

{ 78 } 


blankets, quilts, and tarpaulins, and so well roped to the trucks that nothing 
could move. The workmen had to travel with us, carefully deployed so that 
each truck carried several workmen who could catch at overhanging boughs 
or dangling wires. 

I had taken great care to brief the drivers on the value of the load they were 
carrying, and issued instructions that no truck was to exceed ten miles per 
hour. At this crawl the short journey back to Florence took over two hours. 
The four trucks contained in addition to the Pontormo Deposition from Santa 
Felicita and Visitation from Carmignano, the Vecchietta Madonna Enthroned, 
Ambrogio Lorenzetti’s Presentation in the T emple, the Rosso Depositions from 
Volterra and from Sansepolcro, a long series of Mannerist altarpieces by Vasari, 
Salviati, Pomarancio, Cigoli, Santi di Tito, Passignano, and others, the entire 
Studiolo of Francesco I, and three more of the detached frescoes by Paolo 
Uccello from the Chiostro Verde. At one time we passed through an olive 
orchard where was encamped the headquarters of iv Corps, occasioning in- 
credulous stares and salty comments on the part of the GI’s as the towering 
altarpieces moved slowly down the road. Some of the soldiers, trying to hitch 
their free ride to town, had to be dislodged from the gilded frames. 

In this manner we arrived in Florence in the gathering dusk. Passing through 
the crowds along the Via Romana the caravan crawled up to the Palazzo Pitti. 
Thus, less than three weeks after the Germans finished their raid on the Floren- 
tine art treasures, the Allies had begun their job of restitution. I intended to 
bring back all the works from the deposits as long as I could get trucks for the 
purpose. One thing stopped me. I was informed by Colonel Michie, now c.\o 
of Florence, that the Germans had a v-weapon site in northern Italy, pointing 
in the vicinity of Florence. Not until after hostilities were at an end could we 
risk returning any more works of art to Florence. 

( 79 } 



O UR worst days in Florence had come in August. In September Captain 
Keller, who had been working in Volterra and Livorno, fell heir to a 
task of colossal proportions, the first salvage work in Pisa. The terrible 
bombardments that had reduced to ruins so many of the buildings on the south 
bank of the river had been followed by three fighter-bomber attacks on the 
bridges, carving enormous holes in the center of the city. For forty days static 
warfare had been carried on within the town, with barbed wire, small ar ms , 
machine guns, and grenades. Artillery dueled from side to side of the Arno. 
On September 2 Captain Keller arrived to find Pisa a scene of utter devastation, 
shattered, piled with rubble, wreckage, and barbed wire, and sown thick with 
mines and booby traps. Half the streets could not be explored at all. Captain 
Keller entered buildings at the risk of his life, identifying as many as four or 
five booby traps in one room. Most of the population had fled. On every side 
lay ruin and desolation. The famous Lungarni of Pisa, those two majestic 
crescents of palaces, were torn and shattered, littered with broken stone and 
glass. And the German shelling still continued. 

Of all the artistic tragedies of Pisa, however, the greatest was the loss of the 
Campo Santo. When Keller, unaware of what had happened, arrived in the 
Piazza del Duomo, he found that the entire roof of the Campo Santo, two 
tracts of 415 feet and two of 171, had been destroyed by fire (Fig. 32). The 
delicate tracery of the Gothic marble arcades enclosed little but ruin. The 
blazing beams had fallen, crushing the Gothic tombs and Roman sarcophagi 
throughout the interior of the building. The lead, which had covered half the 
roof, melted in the heat of the flames and ran down the frescoed walls, covering 
the marble pavement and its mediaeval tomb slabs. When it cooled, there was a 
layer of lead half an inch thick over the entire area, encrusting the broken 
tombs and sarcophagi. The vast series of frescoes that lined all the walls, in- 
cluding the celebrated Triumph of Death series and the cycle by Benozzo Goz- 
zoli, had been literally cooked by the violent heat. Pitiful rags of frescoed plaster 
peeled and sagged from the walls. Thirty-eight days of exposure to the intense 
sun of the Pisa plain had done much to aggravate the damage caused by the 
fire, and over large tracts the plaster was reduced to a sort of chalky dust. 

The only clear written account of this destruction, which must rank im- 
mediately after the loss of the Mantegna frescoes in Padua as the most severe 
artistic disaster of the war in Italy, is the moving story written by Bruno Far- 

{ 80 } 


nesi, the modest technical assistant of the Opera del Duomo, who tried so val- 
iantly to extinguish the flames. I quote it here in its entirety: 

“chronicle of the destruction by fire, caused by an artillery shell, of the 

which TOOK PLACE JULY 27, I944. 

“At the fall of evening, toward seven o’clock, after a violent artillery fire 
directed at the Piazza del Duomo, about half an hour after the firing had 
ceased, a small column of smoke was seen rising over the roofs of the Campo 
Santo. Running immediately into the interior of the monument, I noticed 
with terror that the part of the roof above the north aisle, to be exact, over the 
Cappella Aulla, was in flames, which had aheady assumed considerable pro- 

“This was contrary to my optimistic predictions, made when two shells had 
struck another section of the roof during the preceding day and night, causing 
an explosion and consequent fall of material but no signs of fire. I rushed to the 
cathedral to call for help, intending to arrest the fire somehow, and sent word 
immediately to Don Luigi Luccesini, sacristan of the cathedral, so that he 
could notify His Excellency the Archbishop, which he did at once. 

“With the custodian, Giuseppe Quercioli, and former workmen of the 
Opera del Duomo, Antonio Mazzei and Gino Farnesi, together with a few 
other volunteers provided with picks, shovels, clubs, and poles, we climbed 
to the roof by means of the tall ladder which I had purposely left in the interior 
of the monument for two months, to facilitate the climb to the roof in case 
of necessity, but certainly never thinking of fire. Now, on the spot, with anguish 
and terror I realized that, given the lightning speed with which the flames 
were proceeding favored by the wind, and with the few means at our disposal, 
we would not be able to master the fire. With only a few jets of water the thing 
in itself would have been easy, but even this was impossible, because for many 
days the city had been without water. Nevertheless at some distance from the 
fire we began to tear off the sheets of lead and to break the wood below'. But 
the flames ran swiftly and it w'as quickly apparent that our efforts were in vain. 
We had to descend again, hoping to obtain more effective aid and means. 

“Meeting Don Paolo Battini, prior of San Michele in Borgo, I asked him 
to go personally to His Excellency the Archbishop, to see if through the Ger- 
man Command, the air raid authorities, or the fire department w'e could get 
proper help. Don Battini returned to say that His Excellency the Archbishop 
had neither the means nor the communications to solve the problem, but that 
if W'e could suggest any method to him he would undertake it at once. In the 
meantime we were to try to do everything possible which the love of the monu- 

{ 81 } 


ment suggested to us. Don Battini was accompanied by a German^ met acci- 
dentally on the way, and whom he entreated to intervene. We returned to the 
Campo Santo and I suggested to him the use of dynamite or something similar, 
to try and blow up the two bays of the roof in an attempt to save the east, north, 
and south aisles. He did not agree with the proposal, saying that in his opinion, 
given the lack of water, the only possible thing to do was what we had already 
tried. We climbed up again and began again to strip another section of the roof; 
personally I was without hope, because of the colossal size of the roof and the 
flames which approached more swiftly. While the work was proceeding on 
the roof, a new and violent burst of shellfire began, right on the Piazza del 
Duomo, hitting the cathedral and the buildings nearby. Thus we had to descend 
and flee to shelter behind the walls of the Campo Santo. One shell exploded 
so near that the person beside me was knocked down by the blast. It was a 
real miracle that we were able to reenter the cathedral unharmed, while 
outside another violent cannonade began. 

‘When the crash of the shells ceased, night was about to fall; I went again 
to the monument and now more than ever realized that we were absolutely 
helpless to prevent its complete destruction. With a sob in my throat and my 
heart oppressed and bleeding I had to watch the tragic sight, impotent. As we 
gazed upon the destroying flames I saw swiftly but clearly the long time spent 
there, and my thoughts went to the many labors completed with care and love, 
the complete restoration of the roof, the entire new arrangement of the sar- 
cophagi and all the other monuments, the commissions, the polemics for the 
conservation of the famous frescoes and their restoration, the worries about a 
drop of water on the walls, the care of the roses and the lawn, all that daily 
for more than twenty years had taken place there. 

“I saw again the visitors, the numerous groups of Italians and foreigners who, 
dazzled by all this harmony, by all this splendor, remained rapt and astonished 
by such luminous beauty, in the admiration of what was the most beautiful 
cemetery in the world. All now was burning. The spread of the fire was so 
rapid that at midnight the destruction had already taken place, and the last 
pieces of burnt wood had fallen. In the night the Piazza dei Miracoli seemed to 
bleed in the vermilion color of the flames; the cathedral, the baptistery, the 
campanile, again targets for the cannons in the first light of dawn, were there, 
solemn, almost tinted with blood, to witness the tragic destiny of their brother, 
minor in age but not in beauty, who perished and was irredeemably consumed.” 

There is no doubt that the shells which poured on the cathedral, the bap- 
tistery, the Leaning Tower, and the Campo Santo were American shells. Again 
only military- historians will ever be able to tell us why the glorious group of 

^ Probably a private soldier, whose name was never ascertained. 

{ S2 } 


structures in the Piazza dei Miracoli should have become targets for artillery. 
But a likely suggestion is contained in Farnesi’s assertion that the Germans 
were using the campanile as an artillery op, and the fact that Captain Keller, 
in his first exploration of the tower, found numerous objects left behind by the 

An airplane passes over in a fraction of a second, and a hundred factors may 
influence its failure to hit an objective. But artillerymen do not waste their 
shells or jeopardize the lives of their men by a continued bombardment of an 
unnecessary target. Under the conditions which prevailed in the sector in July, 
and knowing the fairly accurate means by which the artillery determines the 
location of an enemy observation post, I am willing to be convinced that the 
Americans believed that the German artillery fire in the area was being di- 
rected from the Leaning Tower, a scant hundred yards from the Campo Santo. 
Under such circumstances the decision of a commander responsible for the lives 
of his men and the success of a military operation cannot be questioned. Ulti- 
mately the crime of warfare in such a country as Italy is to be laid at the door 
of Hitler and Mussolini. “Fewer works of art,” said Mussolini after the bom- 
bardment of Genoa, “and more banners wrested from the enemy!” 

The measures subsequently taken to save what could be rescued from this 
debacle were unique in the history of warfare and will redound to the everlast- 
ing credit of the United States Army. No civilian agency could have coped 
with the situation. Indeed there were only a few hundred miserable civilians 
left in the battered city. The army took hold at once. At Captain Keller’s earnest 
request General Hume came to see the Campo Santo on September 4, and 
promised all possible aid in covering the frescoes so as to prevent any further 
damage. On September 5 large tarpaulins, obtained by Keller from iv Corps 
AMG, were apphed as a first attempt at protection. On September 8 Keller re- 
ceived the welcome news that General Hume had taken the matter of the 
Campo Santo up with General Clark and that the latter had ordered the Fifth 
Army Engineers to place an engineering officer at Captain Keller’s disposal. 
This officer arrived on September 9, suggesting a lean-to roof some eight to 
twelve feet wide, running around the top of the w’alls, and supported from 
the ground by a system of struts, the roof to be covered with tarpaper. 

Then Fifth Army enlisted the support of Peninsular Base Section, for on 
September ii four officers from pbs arrived to take over the job. Captain Foster 
of the 338th Engineers was in charge of the work, and he was to bring a com- 
pany of eighty-two Italian soldiers under the command of their own Italian 
officers, but attached to the 338th. With Captain Keller the engineers inspected 
the shell-pocked roof of the cathedral, decided on the use of lead for its repair. 

{ S3 } 


and on September 12 the Italians arrived and started work both at the Campo 
Santo and the cathedral. 

The first problem in the Campo Santo was to clear the debris in the interior, 
and with maximum care in order to preserve all fragments of the fallen fres- 
coes. This meticulous task had already been begun by Farnesi, together with 
Professor Biagi, president of the Opera del Duomo. Carefully grouped and 
labeled with the position in which they had been found, the fragments were 
gathered together in the Opera del Duomo. Sanpaolesi was brought from Vol- 
terra to supervise the work of the Italian technicians. The soldiers worked 
well, rolling up the sheet of lead like an endless carpet. Specialized workmen, 
provided by the contractor. Signor Conforti, the good angel of the Pisa Super- 
intendency, began the colossal undertaking of cleaning the lead and fragments 
of burnt wood from the broken tombs and sarcophagi, and repairing the frag- 
ments. There were seventy-two funerary monuments that needed attention. 

In the meantime in Florence I tried to obtain restorers to consolidate the 
remaining frescoes so that nothing more would fall from the walls. The Flor- 
ence Superintendency, bitterly though it needed all its own personnel, pro- 
vided three capable restorers for the job, old Cavaliere Benini, the head of a 
family of restorers, and two assistants, Nini and Cassini. Maj, Ward Perkins 
arrived from Rome on September ii, with Cesare Brandi of the Central In- 
stitute of Restoration, and accompanied the elder Benini to Pisa. I followed on 
the thirteenth with the other two restorers. That day, as we passed through 
the gutted southern half of Pisa, not a single living thing was visible. The city 
was utterly deserted and reduced by bombs to the appearance of a landscape 
on the moon. 

The problem ahead of the restorers was staggering; the frescoed walls meas- 
ure approximately forty feet in height and over a fifth of a mile in aggregate 
length. Most of these frescoes were badly damaged, and only a few were of 
poor quality. The stupendous series of the Triumph of Death, the Life of the 
Hermits in the Thebaid, masterpieces of Trecento dramatic style now attributed 
to the Pisan painter, Francesco Traini, had suffered severely. It was a shock to 
find that these frescoes had been executed on plaster held to the walls by means 
of a wicker mat. Wicker six hundred years old is of a certain fragility. The heat 
of the burning beams caused large sections of it, with their load of frescoed plas- 
ter, to fall away entirely, and the heat and flames weakened further areas. Ap- 
proximately a quarter of the Triumph of Death had thus fallen away, a third 
of the Thebaid and almost all of the Resurrection. The Last fudgment had not 
been as badly affected by the fire. Those portions of the frescoes which still 
adhered to the wall were in a most precarious condition, exhibiting large 
bulges and blisters. In fact, on the night following the arrival of the restorers 

{ 84 } 


and before they were able to get to work, one of the most moving passages 
in the T heboid, the scene where Christ appears to a monk in the wilderness, 
fell out and was smashed (Fig. 33). 

The Assumption of the Virgin attributed to Lippo Memmi, over the south 
door of the building, fell in its entirety to the pavement. But the succeeding 
fresco series of the south aisle, the Life of Saint Ranieri, by Andrea Buonaiuti 
da Firenze and Antonio Veneziano, and the Life of Saints Ephisus and Potitus 
by Spinello Aretino, already badly damaged before the fire, suffered little fur- 
ther harm. The Story of fob, by an unknown Trecento master, already in part 
destroyed, came through without further damage. As for the dismal frescoes 
in the east and west aisles, by mediocre sixteenth and seventeenth century paint- 
ers such as Agostino Ghirlanda, Aurelio Lomi, and Zaccaria Rondinosi — they 
were practically intact. The fresco in the north aisle, representing God the 
Father Upholding the Universe, a majestic composition by Piero di Puccio from 
Orvieto, was not badly damaged. All the Trecento frescoes, however, and par- 
ticularly the series attributed to Traini, experienced lamentable alterations in 
their color schemes. The heat was so great that it affected the chemical con- 
stituents of the pigments, turning the soft blues and greens to a hard grey, and 
all the flesh tones to brick red. 

The worst damage was suffered by the twenty-four frescoes by Benozzo 
Gozzoli. These were underneath the section of the roof which had been cov- 
ered entirely with lead, and were thus subjected to the greatest and most pro- 
longed heat. Moreover, they faced south, which exposed them to six weeks of 
blazing sunlight. As a result they were almost completely obliterated. Very few 
areas of these once lovely frescoes are now more than faintly recognizable; 
none are still enjoyable. To preserve them at all was fantastically difficult, for 
the plaster had so disintegrated throughout that at a touch it crumbled like 
grated cheese. 

Sometimes when the hand of tragedy seems too heavy to bear, fortune ad- 
ministers a few drops of balm. So it was here, for when many sections of the 
frescoes, destroyed past hope of salvage, fell away, remarkably fresh red earth 
drawings by Benozzo Gozzoli’s own hand, full-scale preparations for the com- 
positions of the lost frescoes, were discovered perfectly preserved under the 
plaster. These sketches reveal a hardly suspected energy and rythmic motion on 
the part of an artist whose finished works were often marred by woodenness. 
Brought to light under such tragic circumstances, they will remain instructive 
examples of Quattrocento graphic style, and give a new insight into the process 
of Renaissance composition. 

The work of consolidation began at once with scaffolding already existing 
in Pisa. Supports had to be improvised with whatever means could be found. 

{ 85 } 


The system used was admittedly temporary, so as not to prejudice later and 
more permanent arrangements. Small wedges of brick were placed at the lower 
edges of all threatened portions, and fixed to the surface of the wall by means 
of plaster. Bulges w’ere supported by a sort of basketwork of wire drawn taut 
across the bulge between nails on either side. The stability of the frescoes, at 
least for a limited period, was thus assured. 

The work went on under extreme difficulties and dangers. At no time during 
the entire undertaking were the Germans more than thirty miles away. All 
through September huge German railway guns lobbed 280-millimeter shells 
into Pisa. Mines and booby traps killed and wounded people daily. One of the 
eighty-two Italian soldiers was blown to bits while walking in a forbidden 
area of the city. Not a house in Pisa had glass in its windows. Twenty per cent 
of the buildings were razed to their foundations, another thirty per cent par- 
tially destroyed; most of the roofs in the city were either completely gone or 
converted to sieves by the frequent explosions. Aside from a few public foun- 
tains, there was no water, nor did it return for six months, since the Germans 
had blown up the enormous aqueduct from Monte San Giuliano. All fall and 
winter there was no electric light, the power returning only to a few govern- 
ment offices in late winter and to the town as a whole in the spring. Neither 
were there any candles to be had, nor oil for lamps save at fantastic prices in 
the black market. 

Bit by bit the people started to come back, but life was intolerable. The con- 
ditions which made Florence hell for two months lasted in Pisa half a year. 
The only food was the slender rations amg was able to bring into the city. 
Restaurants began to reopen, perhaps four in the entire town, offering a diet of 
unidentified boiled vegetation. Although Sanpaolesi established a kind of mess 
for the specialists at the offices where the Superintendency was reestablished, 
it provided little more than a starvation diet. Yet not only the buildings of the 
Piazza dei Miracoli were damaged — every church and palace of any impor- 
tance, Romanesque or Gothic, Renaissance or Baroque, was in desperate need 
of attention (Figs. 30, 36, 38). 

But the work continued. On October ii, not six weeks after the arrival of 
Captain Keller at the Campo Santo, the lean-to roof over the Gozzoli frescoes 
and the series attributed to Francesco Traini was completed (Fig. 32). Although 
not included in the original scheme, Captain Keller appealed for materials 
for the erection of a somewhat narrower roof, supported by brackets, over the 
frescoes of Antonio Veneziano and Spinello Aretino. On December 22 this 
tract also was complete, and the work of first aid to the frescoes was at an end. 

The devoted work of Captain Keller, supported whole-heartedly by General 
Hume, and the labor of American and Italian engineers and Italian experts 

{ 86 } 


thus saved for posterity what a few weeks of neglect would have brought to 
total ruin. But, it must be emphasized, the work was only preliminary. Nothing 
more was conceivable under wartime conditions a few miles from the front. 
The vast structure, more than four hundred feet in length, still lacks a perma- 
nent roof, and the slender construction of wood and canvas necessary to span 
the aisles, the thousands of wooden crosspieces, the hundreds of thousands of 
roof tiles, the many months of labor, will cost nearly half a million dollars, 
a heavy burden for ruined Italy." 

A heartening contrast to all the disasters of Pisa was the miraculous escape 
of the little chapel of Santa Maria della Spina (Fig. 34). This masterpiece of 
Pisan Gothic ornament and sculptural decoration was barely missed by the 
same type of looo-pound demolition bomb that made gravel out of San Michele 
in Borgo. The bomb struck instead a Trecento Gothic brick house across the 
street, not twenty feet away, leaving nothing but the cellar and a heap of dust, 
over which the almost unscratched beauty of the Spina stood in quiet triumph. 
Had the bomb fallen five yards farther on, the Spina would have been blown 
into the v^nno. As it was, all the statues by followers of Giovanni Pisano and 
by Nino Pisano had been taken to safety by the Superintendency, and since the 
lateral blast of these penetration bombs is relatively slight, the Spina suffered 
only the cracking of a few pinnacles. 

* * * 

In the desperate urgency of the work in Florence and its environs, it was not 
until September that I was able to get to Arezzo, and only in November began 
to explore the wild and desolate ranges of Arezzo Province. It was another 
world from the garden-and-villa landscape of Florence. On these uplands only 
an occasional shepherd’s hut faces the lonely roads between the ancient towns 
which ride the rock with a certain fierce pride. In these grim solitudes where 
the Alpe di Catenaia merges into the Alpe di Serra, Saint Romuald beheld the 
heavens opening to a procession of his white-robed monks. Saint Francis re- 
ceived the Stigmata of Christ, and in a house of untrimmed stone in a village 
clinging to a castle-ruin Michelangelo first saw the light. 

For all its richness in works of art, Arezzo, except for the Piazza Grande, is 
not one of the handsomest of Tuscan cities. Scores of Flying Fortress raids on 
the neighboring railway yards did nothing to enhance its appearance. The 

- Since the writing of this chapter I was appointed to administer a contribution of $15,000 
from the American Committee for the Restoration of Italian Monuments, for the salvage 
of the frescoes in the Campo Santo. The systematic detachment of the frescoes from the 
walls was completed during the winter of 1947-4S, with spectacular results. The Italian 
Go\ eminent has now pro\ided the funds for the beginning of the roof over the Campo 
Santo. These operations are discussed in greater detail in the Appendi.x. 

{ i'7 / 


bombs were so widely scattered over the center that it is very remarkable that 
there was not more widespread and serious damage to the monuments. The 
most serious disaster was the destruction by bombs of two rooms in the museum. 
Although the Fascist director, Alessandro del Vita, had assured the Superin- 
tendency in Florence, by letter, that the museum had been completely evacu- 
ated, when the bomb struck every picture was still in place. Ten were blown 
to bits so minute that reconstruction was out of the question, and six were badly 
damaged but in part salvageable. Approximately three hundred pieces of ma- 
jolica were demolished, luckily not the priceless collection of Aretine, Gubbio, 
and Deruta ware of the Quattrocento and Cinquecento, but still fine pieces, in- 
cluding a lovely series of eighteenth century Montelupo plates. Del Vita did 
nothing to clean up the rubble and salvage the pieces, so the whole burden fell 
on Procacci and Morozzi, with the one Superintendency truck which the Ger- 
mans had not requisitioned. Making several trips, they brought back to Flor- 
ence every work of art from the museum that would fit in the truck, leaving 
the largest things, the huge altarpieces by Signorelli, in the firm and compara- 
tively safe substructions of the museum, protected by a rapidly constructed 
shelter of concrete. On one of these trips, just as the truck, the workmen, 
Procacci, and Morozzi were about to leave the town with a load of works of 
art, there was another Flying Fortress raid. Procacci and Morozzi escaped with 
their lives only because the bomb that struck not twenty feet away happened 
to be a dud. 

Most of the mediaeval and Renaissance churches of the city suffered damage 
of some sort, although in general not beyond repair. The Badia, however, 
whose interior is a severe and imposing example of Vasari’s architectural style, 
was hit, and the complex system of vaulting and saucer domes was being rapidly 
waterlogged by rain leaking through the devastated roof. Still worse, the 
spacious two-story cloister, a marvel of Renaissance elegance and harmony, at- 
tributed to Giuliano da Maiano, had lost two of its sides (Figs. 44-45). Their 
ruins lay spilled in a mountainous tangle of beams, rubble, and broken columns. 
And even in San Francesco, where the roof tiles had been disarranged by near-by 
blasts, the water was leaking into the matchless fresco series by Piero della 

Furthermore, no one as yet had the slightest idea what had happened to 
Borgo Sansepolcro, with its fresco of the Resurrection by Piero della Francesca. 
We could find no one in Arezzo who had yet been to Borgo, and the Germans 
were still entrenched in the heights of the Alpe della Luna, overlooking the 
city and the Tiber valley. Our journey to Borgo. accompanied by Procacci and 
Professor Salmi of the University of Florence, on September 8, a year after the 
Italian surrender, was a memorable trip indeed. Such were the almost in- 

{ 88 } 


credible exasperations, particularly the bogging down of an entire British con- 
voy in the bottomless fields of mud near Palazzo del Pero, blocking the only 
by-pass around the blown bridge, that the twenty-five-mile trip took more than 
three hours. 

The town was severely damaged. Allied fighter bombers had attacked Ger- 
man military transport outside the gates, so the modern quarter was devastated. 
Several fine mediaeval houses had been damaged by bombs, others blown up 
by the Germans, and the huge tower in the center of the Piazza, known af- 
fectionately as “La Berta” (Bertha), had been mined and utterly destroyed, 
covering the square with rubble ten feet deep. The Resurrection was safe. The 
custodian of the Palazzo Communale unlocked the door of the main hall and 
we saw the fresco in all its impersonal majesty. Deeply moved, we gazed on the 
triumphant central figure, quiet as a statue in the light of dawn, upon the bare 
Aretine hills beyond, upon the grey clouds, upon the soldiers, in their armor 
and blue and lavender and red cloaks, sleeping below the mighty miracle. 

On the way back to Arezzo we made a detour to Monterchi to see Piero’s 
Madonna del Par to in the little cemetery chapel. The protecting wall was taken 
down while we watched, and we could return rejoicing in the news that every 
work by Piero in Tuscany was intact. 

For the work of repair in Arezzo Province we appointed a young engineer, 
Ubaldo Lumini, whose father and brother both worked for the Superintendency 
as restorers. He set up housekeeping in the Casa Vasari, and with poor food 
and no fuel worked devotedly throughout the winter against the greatest ob- 
stacles. He traveled on anything, walked, hitched rides, pedaled a bicycle over 
mountain roads in any kind of weather, used every wile known to the Tuscans 
in order to obtain material for the monuments and get the work organized 
and under way. His country owes Lumini a real debt of gratitude for his 
extraordinary energy'. Leonetto Tintori, the miracle worker from Prato, his 
wife, and his assistant, Rosi, were brought down to Arezzo in mid-September 
to work on the frescoes which were to be detached, and during November 
the Lorentino d’Andrea fresco from San Sebastiano, the frescoes by Vasari and 
by Marco da Montepulciano in the ruined church of San Bartolommeo, and 
several other damaged frescoes were brought back to Florence to be completely 
restored in Procacci’s Gabinetto del Restauro. By this time all the roof repairs 
were completed at the Badia, and by the end of February there was no longer 
a monument in Arezzo with a leaky roof or gaping windows. In May the last 
of the work in the cloister of the Badia was completed — every column and 
capital salvaged from the rubble, and the existing sides of the cloister properly- 
consolidated and reroofed. 

Much of my time in Arezzo Province was spent in the Casentino, the upper 

{ 89 } 


valley of the Arno, rich in mediaeval and Renaissance monuments. During 
all these trips there loomed above us the wild crag of La Verna, to which some- 
how, sometime, we had to ascend. For here was not only the sanctuary where 
St. Francis received the Stigmata, but the finest series of terra cotta rehefs out- 
side Florence, the masterpieces of Andrea della Robbia. It is difficult enough 
to get to La Verna in peace time; in war time it was impossible. The three roads 
which approach the four-thousand-foot peak were all blown up by the Ger- 
mans in crucial spots. Bailey bridges installed to permit passage of troops were 
removed at once for use elsewhere. At each of the three roads we were turned 
back, sometimes after half completing the ascent. 

After three unsuccessful attempts, on October 21 we navigated a mud road 
through valley farms, a ford across a torrent, and several miles of mountain 
mule track which eventually rejoined the main road beyond the last blown 
bridge. From there we climbed in curve after curve onto what seemed the ridge- 
pole of the world, with endless views off into the Casentino in the colored 
luminosity of the late afternoon. There, like two toy cities, sat Poppi and Bib- 
biena on their little mounds, under the immensity of the Pratomagno, over 
which we could gaze into the Chianti hills toward Siena, south past Arezzo 
and the Valdichiana to the profile of Mount Cetona. Finally we came to the 
village of Chiusi della Verna and the cobblestone path that climbs at almost 
forty degrees up to the sanctuary. 

The simple buildings of the monastery and its church and chapels presented 
the too familiar aspect of a shelled village. Roofs were full of gaping holes, 
walls were battered, debris littered the terraces. The Father Superior told us 
that the bombardment had lasted ten days, from August 26 to September 4. 
Although no Germans were in the monastery at any time, according to his 
account, they had artillery positions directly below it. These and the entire 
monastery were heavily shelled by the British. On one occasion when a flight 
of Allied planes passed over, the monks were certain that La Verna was going 
to suffer the fate of Montecassino, but no bombs were dropped. Since the shell- 
ing continued for a day and a half after the departure of the Germans, the 
monks finally sent one of their number with a white flag to the British officers 
of the Indian division that was operating in the area to inform them that there 
were no longer any Germans on the peak. At first he was taken for a spy, but 
the officers who returned to the sanctuary with him found that it could no 
longer be considered a military objective. 

The loggia around the Chiesa Maggiore was more than half destroyed and 
all the roofs devastated by uncountable shells, and a direct hit on the shrine 
near the entrance of the church destroyed the Pieta by Giovanni della Robbia, 
a work of minor importance. The campanile was damaged and badly shaken, 

{ 90 } 


a primitive Romanesque double-arched window in the Cappella degli Angeli 
was smashed. Several shells pierced the vaulting of the church, yet the beautiful 
rehefs by Andrea della Robbia and the best of the school pieces escaped any 
sort of injury, either by flying fragments or falling masonry. On either side of 
the nave, under their tabernacles, still shone the two reliefs of the Annuncia- 
tion and the Adoration of the Child-, in the left transept stood the immense 
Ascension, a thick choir of superbly draped apostle figures below the Christ 
borne heavenward by angels. The shells had passed harmlessly over the little 
chapel of the Stigmata. The great Crucifixion relief by Andrea della Robbia 
dominates, even forms, the apse. In this colossal work Andrea rises above the 
decorative charm customarily associated with the glazed reliefs of his shop 
into a realm of tragic suffering and intense spirituality. 

The problem was now how to accomplish the repair of the damaged church, 
to prevent the vaulting from falling and crushing the reliefs, how to get men 
and materials to this inaccessible place. I am sorry to have to admit that La 
Verna was one of the total failures on the part of the mfaa office. Whatever 
work was done during my stay in Tuscany was executed by the monks them- 
selves, without help from anyone. Lumini succeeded in making one trip to the 
mountain top in December — on a bicycle — before the winter snows cut off La 
Verna entirely from the outside world. He was able to do no more than advise 
the monks on improvising repairs to the church roof by using tiles and slate 
from other portions of the monastery, and boards sawn from the timbers of 
the surrounding woods. This the monks did, and it was sufficient to protect the 
building against further damage by rain and snow. In the spring Lumini re- 
turned and drew up a complete preventivo for the necessary repairs. This was 
one of the projects which were held up by the cumbersome finance system, 
and was still unfinanced when the Province of Arezzo was turned back to 
the Italian Government on May to. 

On one of the unsuccessful attempts to reach La Verna, I had one of the 
most moving experiences of my whole stay in Tuscany. Pieve Santo Stefano, 
a village of two thousand inhabitants, lies not far from Borgo Sansepolcro. 
Walled in by desolate hills that rise fifteen hundred feet above it, the town 
hangs in one long clump of houses and towers above the young Tiber, here 
rushing by as green as glass upon its stones and ledges. At first, as we ap- 
proached Pieve, Franco and I thought the town was still there. Then we began 
to realize what had happened. Nothing but a few walls and roofs, and the 
facade of the town overhanging the Tiber, still stood. The Germans had sys- 
tematically demolished the entire village house by house, leaving only the 
Collegiata, two small chapels, the parish house, and two-thirds of the Palazzo 
Communale. The operation took weeks. The use of airplane bombs instead of 

f 91 } 


mines resulted in blowing the center of each house, while the corners, some- 
times the end walls as well, remained standing with fragments of roof still ad- 
hering to them. These jagged, amputated portions of habitations standing 
above the wreckage presented a somehow even more tragic aspect than the 
completely leveled towns such as Levane and San Godenzo. 

The principal work of art in the town, a large relief by a follower of Andrea 
della Robbia, was in the Oratory of San Francesco, which could be reached 
only by climbing over some two hundred yards of snapped beams and shattered 
masonry. The door of the chapel was open, and we gazed into the wrecked in- 
terior. The left wall of the chancel had fallen inward and spilled across the 
high altar and the sanctuary. Above this heap of brick and plaster, threatened 
momently by the collapse of the unsupported apse vaulting, stood the enormous 
relief of the Assumption of the Virgin (Fig. 35). Serene in its blue and white 
perfection, the great altarpiece shone like a vision in the sudden light of the 
broken apse. 

Presently I became aware that some of the townspeople had followed me 
into the chapel, the aged mayor among them. Emboldened by their evident 
interest in the relief, I told them that I planned to dismantle it as soon as pos- 
sible and take it to Arezzo where it could be restored and kept safely until there 
was some place in Pieve where it might be received. At once their faces fell. 
The people pleaded with me not to take the relief away. The town would an- 
swer for its safety. A young man, who I found out later was the geometra com- 
munale, a kind of town engineer, offered to shore the vault with the beams 
from the destroyed houses, of which there was, alas, a copious supply at hand. 
If I could send the restorer to Pieve, they would find some way of putting h im 
up and feeding him while he dismantled the relief, and reassembled it in their 
own Collegiata. 

“E tutto quello che ci rimane!”" said someone. These people had no houses 
save what they could put together out of the standing fragments, they had lost 
all their belongings, they had not even a motor vehicle or a wagon to take 
away the rubble, which they were moving with spades and wheelbarrows, 
but they were willing to work and sacrifice to save the one really beautiful 
thing in the town. Moved beyond all words, I agreed. I promised to send a 
restorer as soon as I could spare one. but I warned them that the difficulties 
of the journey from Florence might cause considerable delay. No matter, 
said they; whenever I arrived I would find the vault properly shored and the 
relief as safe as they could make it. The people went back to their job of carry- 
ing away with their hands the ruins of their homes, and I renewed my attempts 
to reach La Verna. 

“It is all we have lett!" 

i 92 } 


Not for four montlis was I able to return to Pieve Santo Stefano. On March 7 
I transported the restorer Liso from Florence to Arezzo, and from there sent 
him off by bicycle to Pieve. When I arrived in Pieve on March 17, with some 
of the special plaster needed for the work, I found that Liso had the relief half 
dismantled. The upper portion was being laid out carefully in the apse of the 
Collegiata. True to their word the townspeople had safely shored the vault of 
San Francesco. They had cleared the streets of the town so well that we were 
able to drive from one end to the other. And they had even built a suspension 
bridge across the Tiber. The towers were made of tree trunks, the roadway of 
planks, the cables of the cable line which the Germans had used to transport 
building materials to the near-by fortresses of the Gothic line. Primitive though 
the construction and the materials were, the principles involved were perfectly 
sound, and the whole thing was a triumph of resourcefulness, so strong that 
not only the jeep but a small truck that the Commune had acquired could cross 
it in complete safety. Before leaving Tuscany for good I had the joy of re- 
turning to Pieve Santo Stefano, across this same bridge, to see the Della Robbia 
relief remounted intact in the Collegiata. 

One of the most tragic cultural losses in Tuscany concerned not a work of 
art but a creation of nature, the dense forest of Camaldoli. The columns of this 
living temple were once the setting for an intense spiritual life. Here, after 
Saint Romuald’s vision, he founded the most ascetic order known to the West, 
under whose rule white-robed hermits lived in solitary huts under the most 
rigorous conditions, ate their few meals alone, celebrated solitary mass, com- 
municated with no one, came together only for the daily offices. Their tradition 
of penitential meditation persisted into the Renaissance as a countercurrent to 
the paganism of revived antiquity, and the shadow of this mountain forest 
haunts the most luminous moments of the Florentine Quattrocento. The Medici 
and other great families had their cells here in the silence of the lofty fir trees, 
and Lorenzo the Magnificent walked with his Platonic Academy through the 
forest of Camaldoli. 

Early in March of 1945 I received a distraught letter from Professor Calaman- 
drei, rector of the University of Florence, diat the Allies were cutting down 
the ancient forest, indeed that the most beautiful section, lining the road from 
the convent up to the Sacred Hermitage nearly a thousand feet above, had 
already been laid waste. It seemed scarcely believable that this could have taken 
place without our knowledge. Poggi had been to Camaldoli in late October and 
found all in order. In mid-December I had met the Father Chamberlain in 
Niccoli's office in Siena, and he had said nothing of any cutting. Furthermore, 
the Italian Forest Militia was bound by law to notify the Superintendencv of 

{ 93 } 


any disaster to the forest, which since 1900 has had the status of a national 

Procacci and I went immediately to Camaldoli to see what could be done. 
The account was only too true. The solenm aisles of the millennial forest were 
a scene of wholesale destruction. Fir trees of immense height, some of them 
hundreds of years old, wxre strewn for three miles along the road. The dense 
black forest was gone, nor could its beauty be replaced for at least a century. 
The rich undergrowth of golden moss, fern, cyclamen, broom and wild straw- 
berries was trampled to pulp and slime by the trucks, bulldozers, and tractors 
of the 2nd Forestry Group (British). As we climbed the steep road the silence 
of the black forest suddenly closed around us, as if a door had shut behind us. 
In these heights the untouched snow lay all about, and hundred-foot trunks 
walled out the sunlight, the shouts, the noise of the machines, the rapacious 
saws, and the falling trees. High around the white huts of the monks in this 
last retreat waved the black crown of the ancient fir trees. 

At all costs we had to insure that at least this area around the Sacred Hermit- 
age remain unspoiled. The British forestry officer stated frankly that the de- 
struction of the great forest by means of felling entire tracts without regard 
to appearances or the future of the land was a crime justified only by military 
necessity. The wood was needed for the bridges across the Po, essential for the 
conduct of the spring offensive that would end the war in Italy. No other 
method would procure the wood as fast as it was needed. Other forests existed 
near by, at La Lama and at Campigna, but were inaccessible because the roads 
were mined. Enough ready-cut wood lay about the forest to make it unneces- 
sar)' to fell near the Hermitage itself for two months. More than that the forestry’ 
oflScer could not promise. 

We made our way sorrowfully down again, through the dense pillars of 
the forest to the destruction that reached daily nearer. We had done what we 
could. All that remained was to write a long and earnest report to the mfa.v 
Subcommission, asking that it urge afhq to de-mine the roads to La Lama and 
Campigna so that those forests could be used instead. The Subcommission's 
efforts were successful. The mighty crown around the Sacred Hermitage, the 
site of St. Romuald's dream, is still inviolate. But the forest of Camaldoli is 
no longer what it was. Here the insatiable demands of war reached very near 
to the heart of Italian culture. 

# * # 

Many adventures — too many to be told — filled fourteen months of ceaseless 
activity in Tuscany. Hardly a road in the region was not traveled by “Lucky 13"; 
few villages from Pontremoli to Piombino were not visited — Pistoia, Pescia, 

! 94 } 


and Lucca under the Apennine wall, the ravaged churches and palaces of half- 
destroyed Livorno, intact Carrara, and devastated Massa, the mediaeval villages 
of the high Garfagnana, the tranquil valley of Lunigiana under the glittering 
Apuan Alps. The cold statistics of the Appendix must suffice to suggest the work 
we did, or attempted, or left undone. But no such account could ever recreate 
the events as they happened, or communicate to others the emotions that can 
never be eradicated from the memory of those whose lives were so bound up 
with a period in which the continued existence of the art of Italy hung in the 

{ 95 / 



T hroughout the autumn and winter of 1944-1945 the fate of the missing 
works of art was of constant concern. In September Poggi and I went 
to the Archbishop of Florence, His Eminence Cardinal Elia della 
Costa, to request his aid in tracing them. Deeply moved by our appeal, the 
Cardinal promised to appeal to the Vatican for aid in convincing the Ger- 
mans of the importance in world opinion of keeping these works of art intact 
and in Italy, and perhaps even In persuading them to disclose their whereabouts. 

In the following month we were informed through these ecclesiastical chan- 
nels that the works of art were in the Upper Adige, in a place called Neumelans 
in Sand; but I could find no such place in any Italian guide, nor did even 
Poggi know where it might be. On November 20 a Bolognese Partisan who 
had crossed the Allied lines came to the Superintendency to look for me. His 
narrative, taken down by Fasola during my absence, told how, near the end 
of July, two German trucks with trailers, loaded with works of art, arrived at 
the Villa Taroni at Marano sul Panaro, a small village in the hills some fifteen 
miles south of Modena. Here the unpacked works of art, which the Germans 
said came from the Pitti and the Uffizi, and must therefore have been from 
Montagnana, were unloaded into the villa, a number being left outside under 
the portico for lack of space. Some of them had served as decorations at a ball 
given by the German militaiq' in the early days of August. About the middle 
of August the Germans left the villa and the pictures recommenced their 

Allied broadcasts reproaching the Germans with the colossal looting of 
Florentine works of art brought indignant replies from Fascist and Nazi radio 
alike, and finally, on December ii, elicited a release by Prof. Carlo Anti, the 
Republican Fascist Director General of Fine .Arts, declaring that he had in- 
spected the deposits of works of art removed from areas near Florence then 
involved in war operations, and found that except for slight damage they were 
all intact. He did not disclose their location nor whether they were in Italian 
or German hands. 

In March, as the time drew near when the breaking of the German lines 
below Bologna would permit deposits to be reached. I made contact with the 
OSS to determine what help they could give in the protection of the works of 
art. It was decided that the oss agents in North Italy should try to obtain in- 

{ 96 / 


formation from the Patriarch of Venice. The ingenious notion was due in its 
entirety to Marchese Serlupi-Crescenzi, who had protected Berenson during 
the German occupation, and who had acquaintances among oss officials, par- 
ticularly with the American major, Alessandro Cagiati, who undertook to as- 
sist us. Early in April assurances were received from oss agents in North Italy 
that they were investigating the condition and the safety of the works of art, 
and that, indeed they were up until that moment, quite safe. 

On April 27, only a few days after the liberation of Bologna, Captain Croft- 
Murray, newly installed as mfaa officer for Emilia, wrote from Bologna the 
exact position of the works of art, which he had learned from Dr. Pietro Zam- 
petti, temporary director of the gallery of Modena. Zampetti had not only been 
able to make a short visit to Marano while the pictures had been there, but 
had received oral instructions from the Fascist Republican Ministry of Public 
Instruction in Padua concerning their further transference and the location of 
everything taken from the surroundings of Florence.^ It was all housed in two 
deposits, one at the castle of Campo Tures above Brunico and the other at San 
Leonardo in Val Passiria, north of Merano — both sites only a few miles from 
the Brenner Pass. Not until I reached Campo Tures did I discover that this was 
actually the place mentioned by the Germans through the Vatican, for the 
castle was originally the property of the Netimelans family, and the pre-1919 
name of the village was Sand im Taufers. 

The story of the fantastic proceedings was fully recorded in the documents 
of the German Kunstschuiz, turned over to us by the Germans and analyzed 
at length by Lieutenant Colonel DeWald and Wing Commander Douglas Coo- 
per of the RAF. To make clear the background, it is necessary to recall that, as re- 
lated in Chapter III, Colonel Langsdorff had conferred with the Florentine au- 
thorities in the Palazzo Pitti on July 15, assuring them of the complete German 
agreement with the orders of Professor Anti from Padua that nothing be re- 
moved from the Florentine deposits to North Italy. On the same day he had 
wired to his own Military Government that he was nonetheless going to take 
over immediately supervision of the evacuation of these deposits. On the nine- 
teenth he had promised Poggi that he would diligently trace down the two 
Cranachs (which were at that moment in his room in the Excelsior), and on 
the twenty-eighth he returned for a last visit to Florence. Actually in the inter- 
vening days Langsdorff had been in Verona, conferring with SS General Karl 
Wolff, head of the German Military Government in Italy, referred to in previous 

Wolff referred the matter to Heinrich Himmler, and as a result ordered 

^ A complete account of his excellent work as custodian of the Bologna deposits under 
appalling conditions was published in pamphlet form bv Dr. Zampetti in 1946. 

{ 97 } 


LangsdorfiE to return to the area of Florence and remove all works of art that 
could possibly be “saved,” placing eight trucks at his disposal for this purpose. 
Langsdorff pretended to Poggi to know nothing of the visit of Colonel Bau- 
mann, which had taken place on the twenty-sixth and twenty-seventh. He 
assured Poggi, who was then worried over the proximity of the deposit at 
Dicomano to the Gothic Line, that if the sculptures were moved from there 
they would be brought back to Florence. He then went at once to Dicomano, 
loaded his trucks with sculpture, and sent them not to Florence but to Verona, 
where they arrived on the night of August 4. 

During the return journey Langsdorff stopped at Marano to inspect the 
pictures from Montagnana. In the meanwhile. Professor Anti, by no means 
as easy in his mind about the safety of the works of art as his subsequent broad- 
cast of December ii might have led one to suppose, was trying desperately 
to obtain the transfer of the Montagnana pictures into a central deposit formed 
by the Italians in the Isole Borromee in Lago Maggiore. It was for this pur- 
pose that he had sent Zampetti to Marano. When Langsdorff again visited 
General Wolff on August 5, the frequent visits of Italian of&ciais to his head- 
quarters and their specific requests for the removal of the pictures to the Isole 
Borromee had left him in no doubt of the wishes of the Fascist Government 
in the matter. 

Yet General Wolff’s decision was to send all the works of art taken from 
Florence into the Alto Adige, or South Tyrol, already thoroughly absorbed by 
Germany, and Italian in name only. Langsdorff was at once despatched to 
Bolzano to obtain accommodations for the works of art. He toured the area 
with Dr. Ringler, the German installed as superintendent in Bolzano, and 
selected the castle of Campo Tures and the unused jail at San Leonardo. There- 
upon Langsdorff returned to Tuscany, where the movements of the team are 
known from day to day. Here is the main outline of the events of August : 

8th Langsdorff transmits to General Greiner at Marano the orders from 
General Wolff to evacuate Montagnana pictures to Alto Adige. Inspects 
Poggio a Caiano with Lieutenant Wawrowetz, under heavy artillery 

9th Returns to Marano and begins loading. 

loth Starts in the evening for Bolzano with Marano pictures, arriving on 
the tveelfth. 

nth Reidemeister takes Dicomano sculptures from Verona to Campo Tures. 
13th Langsdorff arrives with Marano pictures at San Leonardo. 

20th Reidemeister and Wawrowetz visit Poggio a Caiano. 

22nd Begin evacuation of Poggio, including Contini pictures at Trefiano. 

{ 9S } 


23rd Thirty cases from Poggio sent to Bologna, for temporary storage in the 

24th Reidemeister returns to Bologna to organize convoy; discovers that 
works of art from Soci and Poppi had been taken independently by 
the 305th Infantry Division to a site near Forli, on the Adriatic. 

26th Twenty-eight more cases from Poggio arrive in Bologna. 

27th Five truckloads go from Bologna to Verona. 

28th Reidemeister visits Poppi and Soci loot near Forli; orders their move- 
ment north. They leave on the thirty-first. 

By September 7 the last of the stolen works of art from the surroundings of 
Florence had arrived at the deposits in the Alto Adige, over roads which were 
under constant bombardment by the Allies. From August 29 until September 3, 
however, the trucks had continued to arrive in Bolzano from the south, only 
to be refused the fuel necessary to continue their journey. By the time a special 
fuel ration was finally received, no fewer than twenty-one trucks full of works 
of art, plus the ambulance containing the Adam and Eve of Cranach, had piled 
up in Bolzano, immobilized in a town which was being bombed by Flying 
Fortresses daily. In the struggle to obtain control over these works of art, the 
Germans were perfectly willing to sacrifice the objects themselves. 

The subsequent correspondence demonstrates that the Italians tried des- 
perately to regain control, and that Langsdorff stalled them, pretending to have 
saved the works of art from inevitable destruction by shellfire or bombing, 
while he informed his superiors that they had been rescued from the depreda- 
tions of the Anglo-American barbarians. Not only the Italians were worried; 
honest Germans also were deeply concerned. In October Langsdorff received 
from those staunch friends of international culture and decency, Heydenreich 
and Consul Wolf, an astonishing proposal in view of the circumstances. They re- 
quested a special order from the Fiihrer declaring that the works of art were held 
in trust for the Italian nation, a complete inventory to be delivered to the 
Italians, and a visit of inspection by an Italo-German team consisting of the 
petitioners, Langsdorff, Anti, Pacchioni (superintendent of Milan), Morassi 
(superintendent of Genoa), and others. Langsdorff made no reply. A renewal 
of the request W’as met by a pointed inquiry on the part of Langsdorff as to 
why Heydenreich was so interested in the Italians. Not until November 28 
was Anti permitted to make his inspection, and then the inventories handed 
him were amended to omit the name of the deposit, the names of the compilers, 
the date, and the Finaly collection, which had been brought up to Bolzano 
independently by a German unit quartered in the Villa Landau-Finaly. More- 
over, the tw’O Cranachs were displaced to form part of the body of the inventory^, 

( 99 } 


instead of being on a separate sheet. A similarly altered list was handed to 

On December 12, the day following Anti’s broadcast, four grim visitors 
were conducted around the deposit at San Leonardo by Dr. Ringler. They 
were Dr. von Hummel from the Reich Chancellery (later the prime mover in 
the theft of the gold coin collections belonging to the Austrian monasteries), 
Professor Rupprecht from the Vienna Armory, Herr Brueschwyler and Herr 
Schedelmann, dealers from Munich and Vienna respectively. No explanation 
of this visit was given. On January 26, 1945, a circular letter was sent at the 
order of Martin Bormann, Hitler’s deputy, to the supreme SS headquarters in 
each of nine still occupied countries, ordering that all confiscated works of 
art be reported to Hitler’s advisers so that the Fiihrer himself could decide 
what use he wished to make of them. General Wolff received a copy. When 
interrogated by Colonel DeWald and Wing Commander Cooper, Wolff later 
stated that he received direct orders from Himmler to transport the entire 
contents of both Campo Tures and San Leonardo to Altaussee in Austria, the 
huge salt mine which already contained over six thousand works of art looted 
from Poland, Belgium, France, Austria, and Czechoslovakia, and which were 
destined for the Fiihrermuseum in Linz. Wolff protested that he was unable 
to comply for lack of transportation and fuel. Yet on February 23, 1945, Dr. 
Schmidt, one of Langsdorff's assistants, and a young lady photographer from 
Wolff's staff were despatched to Campo Tures and San Leonardo to photo- 
graph all they could— for an album to present to the Fiihrer on his birthday, 
April 20. Ringler found them still at it on March 20, taking Contax pictures 
of Raphael’s Donna Velala and the Rembrandt Old Man, unpacked, unframed, 
outdoors in the snow. Ringlet’s protest to Langsdorlf elicited an emphatic 
warning that the works of art were under the direction of the highest authority. 
Requests for restitution, by the Italian Ambassador to Ribbentrop and by Mus- 
solini to General Wolff, proved equally futile. When the Germans surrendered 
on May 2, it was not to the Italians but to the Allied authorities that General 
Wolff ordered Langsdorff and his gang to deliver the contents of the two 

The foregoing seemed to us conclusive evidence that Hitler wished to in- 
corporate the works of art removed from Florence into the Fiihrermuseum in 
Linz. Without any doubt and beyond all comparison the works of art stolen 
from Italy represented the most important cultural treasure from the point of 
view of quality taken by the Germans from any occupied country, or for that 
matter from all the other occupied countries together. Despite the enormous 
volume of the works of art stored at Altaussee. many hundreds were worthless 
German nineteenth and twentieth century paintings, and the majority were by 

{ 100 } 


perfectly competent Dutch, Flemish, and occasionally Italian masters. More 
than half of the works in the two Alto Adige deposits were in this second 
category, but the rest were on a level of universal importance. In Altaussee 
only the Ghent Altarpiece, the Bruges Madonna of Michelangelo, the Lob- 
kowitz Breughel, the Czernin Vermeer, the Altdorffer St. Florian Altar, some 
Rembrandts, and the loot from Naples were in this supreme category. More- 
over, most of the works in Altaussee were in some way or other purchased 
(although often under duress), and none of them came from state-owned 
museums. Yet so much publicity has surrounded the Altaussee salt mine that 
the importance* of the Italian booty has been generally ignored; indeed it is 
not widely known in this country that the Germans took anything from Italy. 
The mass looting of the public collections of Florence may well measure the 
Germans’ opinion of Italian collaboration — or their basic convictions that Italian 
efforts and sympathies had been on the side of the Allies all along. 

If the Fascist Republican Government had been anxious to recover the Flor- 
entine works of art, the attitude of the Superintendency personnel in the 
north, mostly anti-Fascist and in close contact with the Committee of National 
Liberation, can be imagined. The contact already established between our of- 
fice and the Partisans through the agency of the oss blossomed and bore fruit 
when Venice and Venetia (under whose administration the Alto Adige nor- 
mally falls) were liberated. Prof. Ferdinando Forlati, superintendent of monu- 
ments and galleries for Venice, had long been in contact with members of 
the Committee of National Liberation on the subject of the art deposits of 
the Alto Adige. On April 30 Forlati went to the newly arrived provincial com- 
missioner of AMG in Venice in order to make clear the necessity of reaching the 
site as soon as possible. 

On May 2 the German forces in Italy surrendered. On May 3 Forlati was 
invited by the oss to a meeting at the Albergo Danieli. There he indicated to the 
oss officers the exact site of the deposits, and obtained from a Captain Kelly 
not only the documents that would facilitate his own journey into the area, 
still in a state of total confusion and not yet occupied by the Allies, but an 
American car, an Italian driver, and an Italian warrant officer. Forlati left the 
same day, arriving at Trento the following day along with the columns of 
American troops, and in the midst of the Italian flags that flew from every 
window. On the fifth, along with Antonino Rusconi, the superintendent of 
Trento, he arrived in San Leonardo to find the town still completely under 
German control. 

There was Reidemeister, on the spot and waiting, with his assistant. Professor 
Bruhns. Comm. Teodoro Nazari, president of the Committee of National 
Liberation in Merano, had accompanied the party from that citv, along with 

{ 101 } 


a dubious character called von Harten, who pretended to be the local repre- 
sentative of the International Red Cross, whose “protection” he claimed to be 
able to dispense. Together the strange party visited the deposit and found that, 
except for slight damage to certain pictures, the whole collection had survived 
remarkably well. At that time Nazari, intensely interested in the restitution of 
the works of art to Florence, offered his services and the aid of the cnl for the 
solution of the exacting problem of packing the hundreds of loose pictures. 

On May 6 the party from Venice, Trento, and Merano continued to Campo 
Tures, where they found an American unit already in occupation. On the 
following day they received from Capt. Michael Mohr, Infantry, stationed 
in nearby Brunico, the permission to make their inspection. The document 
which records this visit is signed not only by the Italians and by Captain 
Mohr, but by Bernhard Degenhardt (German art historian, formerly employed 
at the Herziana Library in Rome and for a short while director of the Al- 
bertina), Captain Schmidt and Major Evers of the KunsUchutz, and Langsdorff 
himself. The Germans were most anxious, post facto, to demonstrate how 
scrupulous had been their care and how high their moral purpose. Present 
also at this inspection was the British Major Minor, from the staff of amg Fifth 
Army, sent to assure the safety of the works of art during the period when 
Captain Keller, whose territory now ran from Genoa and Turin nearly to 
Venice, and from the Brenner to Bologna, was busy in Milan. 

In the meantime, since the responsibility for the w’orks of art found in the 
Alto Adige was that of Fifth Army, there was nothing I could do but wait 
impatiently to be called. On May 9 Major Minor wired me to come at once. 
Franco, Rossi, and I started early the following day, not knowing how' far that 
trip might take us or how soon we would be able to return. The excitement at 
the Superintendency was past description. Actually, may I confess, it was not 
the first time since the break-through at Bologna on April 23 that Franco and 
I had crossed dae Apennines. Distracted by worry over his family, from w'hom 
he had not heard since his liberation in Naples in September of 1943, Franco 
had appealed silently by every look and action to be taken home. On April 30 
I could resist no longer and started old. without permission and against or- 
ders. over Route 65. the scene of such bitter conflicts during that interminable 
winter, through the blasted villages of Loiano, Monghidoro, Zula, past the 
complete desert that had once been Pianoro. through Bologna, fat and proud 
and brown in the middle of its ruined suburbs, along the Via Emilia crow'ded 
with German convoys coming in to surrender, and hnallv to Mantua, its 
domes and spires tranquil across the shallow lakes of the Mincio. When w’e 
finally found Franco’s family in a refuge in the countrv, the parents wept, 

102 i 


the school teacher wept, Franco wept, I wept, even the geese seemed pro- 
foundly affected. 

So we knew the road, with its vistas of hundreds of square miles of country 
pitted everywhere by shell holes, and mountainsides showing more shell holes 
than grass. The trees were shaved into spikes by the passing shells, the farm- 
houses reduced to sand heaps, the roads torn by artillery and mines, the villages 
smashed and tottering, reeking sharply of death in the warm air of a spring 
morning. On May ii we arrived at Fifth Army headquarters in a hot meadow 
on the outskirts of shattered Verona. Since Captain Keller was still detained 
in Milan, Major Minor advised me to continue on to Bolzano. Inured as we 
were to destruction and horror by this time, the catastrophic ruin of the Adige 
valley was still something new, where mass raids of Flying Fortresses had 
altered the very landscape, ploughing it into craters twenty feet deep, leaving 
freight and passenger trains dangling into the muddy stream like bunches of 

More and more Germans were encountered, in trucks, staff cars, and armored 
vehicles all along our route, and when in the last light of afternoon we arrived 
in Bolzano, we began to wonder which side had surrendered eight days before. 
The colossal arrogance of the still-armed Germans, who outnumbered us on 
the streets of the city ten to one, and shouldered us into the gutter when they 
could, was countered by no American protest save the clenched jaws of the 
GFs who slept in the Pfarrplatz. From there they could see the Germans in 
the best hotels, and watch the glittering and be-swastikaed officers feasting on 
rich foods and rosy Merano wine. The Americans, who held the area only 
lightly owing to the rapidity of the German collapse in North Italy, were 
under orders to avoid any appearance of an incident with the Germans, largely 
SS, until the area could be brought more completely under control. 

Major Minor had been only to Campo Tures, so Rossi and I decided to start 
the following day for San Leonardo. During the whole drive through the 
beautiful, but somewhat uninteresting Alpine valley above Merano we did not 
meet a single Allied vehicle or see a single Italian civilian. Often we met Ger- 
man trucks and automobiles, full of glowering Germans, still in uniform and 
heavily armed. Every village along the route was bursting with German soldiers, 
every inn guarded by German sentries, until we finally arrived at the hamlet 
of San Leonardo in Val Passiria (the former Sanct Leonhard im Passeiertal), 
like any Austrian village, save for a scattering of Italian working people. Pass- 
ing the great oak before the house of Andreas Hofer, the local south Tyrolean 
hero, in a flurry of dust amid honking geese and screaming children, we ar- 
rived before the simple Austrian jail which contained the Florentine treasures. 

For Rossi, Franco, and me, who had together visited the rifled deposits in 

{ 103 } 


August and September of 1944, it was a moment of intense excitement. The GI 
on guard fumbled long with the keys before he was able to let us into the dark 
hallway of the ground floor, and further keys had to be produced and identified 
as we went from floor to floor and from room to room. But the long months 
of work and waiting seemed suddenly worth while. 

Here, piled against each other in damp and narrow cells, were the pictures 
from Montagnana. In one room all the Virtues of Antonio and Piero del Pol- 
laiuolo stood against the wall, in another we could quickly recognize Cara- 
vaggio’s Bacchus, and Titian’s Philip 11 gazing at the Saint Sebastian of Ercole 
da Ferrara, in another the two great Rubens landscapes were stacked against 
the Bambocciata of Dosso Dossi. With a cry of glee Rossi lifted a cheap bed 
covering to disclose the Eve of Cranach with the Adam visible behind her. One 
solemn room contained the Crucifixion of Signorelli, Botticelli’s Fallas and the 
Centaur (Fig. 50), the Adoration of the Magi by Lorenzo Monaco, and the 
Annunciation and the Madonna Enthroned with Saints by Baldovinetti, over 
whose delicate cypresses we could look through the jail window to the lofty 
pine woods and the snowy upper slopes of the Alpine valley. In an inner room, 
past a Madonna by Cima da Conegliano, Filippino’s Adoration of the Child 
and the Nativity with Saints ferome and Hilarion by Filippo Lippi, we came 
upon the awesome late Pieta by Giovanni Bellini (Fig. 51), the light coming 
full through the window on the dead Christ and the unspoken dialogue of 
grief between the saints who hold him. 

So narrow indeed were the jail cells that in many cases it was almost impos- 
sible to move the pictures so as to obtain a full view of each. They had been 
moved unpacked, without any kind of protection save blankets and straw. 
This we were later able to prove by photographs made by the Germans them- 
selves. It is almost incredible that they survived the trip over Apennines and 
Alps under combat conditions as well as they did. Although few were wholly 
unscratched, the damage was generally very minor. Several large flecks were 
missing from the grisaille surface of the Bellini Pieta, there were two long and 
deep scratches across the Baldovinetti Annunciation, small rips in the Signo- 
relli Crucifixion, and a large hole clean through the Botticelli Pallas and the 
Centaur, luckily in the grass rather than in one of the faces. The Adam and 
Eve by Frans Floris was broken in two. What seemed at first, in the half light, 
to be irreparable damage to a very large section of the sky in the magnificent 
Rubens Return of the Peasants, was found later to be merely a whitish deteriora- 
tion of the varnish through exposure. 

No complete inventory check could be made that day, so we returned in the 
early evening to Bolzano. There, in the meantime, Lieut. Col. }. B. Ward Per- 
kins, Colonel DeWald's deputy, had arrived. On the following day, therefore, 

{ I'A } 


Colonel Ward Perkins went to San Leonardo to begin the interrogation of 
Reidemeister, whom we had not seen, while Rossi, Franco, and I went up the 
other valley to Brunico and Campo Tores. Here we found a fantastic situation; 
the typical Tyrolean sixteenth century, four-turret manor house, shadowed by 
enormous Alpine peaks, was guarded at the same time by Germans, Partisans, 
and GI’s from the 85th Division. Yet after the topsy-turvy town of Bolzano, 
where the amg provincial commissioner had to plod about the town on foot, 
hot, red-faced and dusty, while haughty and glittering SS generals sped past 
in motor cars loaded with blondes, we could believe anything. 

In the castle we were received by no less a personage than Colonel Langs- 
dorff himself (Fig. 52). The executor of the greatest single art-looting operation 
in recorded history received us with a certain amount of petulance, as if we 
had not really been fulfilling our duty to Art by arriving so late. He had been 
expecting us for days, anxious to turn over to us his responsibilities. He made 
it clear that he expected not only praise for his idealistic labor in protecting art 
but also the deference due his superior rank. I was unable to disillusion him 
completely on either score, in spite of one or two determined attempts. 

The castle, dry and airy, was an excellent refuge for the works of art, im- 
measurably better than the jail at Campo Tures. Most of the pictures arranged 
neatly around the walls of the late Gothic rooms were from the collections of 
Contini and Finaly. Amusingly enough, the latter were all labeled as coming 
from the “Finaly-Acton” collection. Acton, a neighbor of Finaly, is a well- 
known English collector, but the Germans had fused him with the Frenchman 
Finaly to produce the mythical Finaly-Acton — an “American Jew.” These pic- 
tures, also removed without packing, showed extensive minor damage to sur- 
faces and frames. 

The great masterpieces were all stored outside the castle in a Gothic stable 
now used as a garage, perfectly dry and safe, and beautifully packed. These 
were the boxes from Poggio a Caiano, Poppi, Dicomano, and Soci. When the 
garage doors were unlocked, we looked into the dark interior piled to the ceil- 
ing with the stout, Florentine boxes, knowing that within them were the Si. 
George of Donatello, the Bacchus of Michelangelo, the Donna Velata of Raph- 
ael, and the whole wonderful series torn from the Florentine deposits. So closely 
were the cases jammed together that even a count of their number was im- 
possible. But on each box was a clean, freshly lettered placard for our benefit: 
Kunstwer\e aus Italienischen Staatsbesitz. 

During the next few days, Rossi and I made our inventory check while Colo- 
nel Ward Perkins and Captain Keller visited the deposits and made their 
preliminary interrogations of the Germans, in particular the dry and shifty 
Langsdorff and the sleek red-haired Reidemeister. The officials of the Kunst- 

{ 105 } 


schutz lost some of their polish after a few weeks in the prisoner of war cages 
at Ghedi, which in the early days after the surrender were merely enormous 
fields enclosed by barbed wire fences with no shelter of any sort against the 
blazing sun of the Po valley, and with clumsy sanitary facilities arranged near 
the fence in full view of the road. But at Campo Tures their arrogance was still 

Rossi’s minute inventory revealed that the pictures, missing from Monta- 
gnana, did not appear at all in the Alto Adige or in any of the German lists. 
Among them were Lorenzo di Credi’s Self-Portrait, the Bronzino Deposition 
from the Uffizi, and the most tragic loss of all, the two little Hercules pictures 
by Antonio del Pollaiuolo. To this day none of these pictures has been found, 
nor has there been the slightest information as to how they disappeared. 

With the exception of three (the Rosa, the Feti, and the Huysum) all had 
been in boxes, the only ones in Montagnana, and had been part of the original 
deposit in Poggio a Caiano before so much of it had been moved by the Floren- 
tines to avoid excessive concentration. The ten pictures apparently were not 
among those which General Greiner turned over to Langsdorff in Marano sul 
Panaro. They appear neither on his rough inventory nor on the precise Kunst- 
schutz list. They were not at Montagnana, however, when Fasola arrived there 
in early July, a few days after the Germans had left. Were they taken by Gen- 
eral Greiner’s troops and abandoned en route r Are they still in some mountain 
hut between Florence and Modena.' Were they dropped into a ravine to 
lighten an overloaded truck? Were they removed by local peasants from the 
Bossi-Pucci villa after the Germans had left? We do not know and perhaps 
we never shall. For the moment these two marvelous little Pollaiuolo paint- 
ings have joined the sad company of Signorelli’s burnt School of Pan and the 
destroyed frescoes of Mantegna in Padua. 

What should be done with these two huge deposits, containing so larcre a 
proportion of the artistic heritage of Italy and the world? They could, of 
course, be left in the Alto Adige for the Italians to bring back when they were 
able. Yet as long as the Allies assumed responsibility for military government 
in that area the deposits would have to be constantly guarded to prevent not 
only theft but sabotage, especially from SS troops still left wandering about in 
the unsettled mountainous region. Such a prolonged commitment, with troops 
badly needed elsewhere, was an unsatisfactory solution. The alternative was to 
bring everything back to Florence. We were all convinced of the necessity of 
restitution to the Florentines at the earliest possible moment. It will be to 
Captain Keller's eternal credit that he managed to convince all the authorities 
of .\MG Fifth Army of the urgency of the problem, and to enlist their enthusi- 
astic cooperation. 

A, 6 t 


For more than two months Captain Keller remained at the maddening job 
o£ arranging and supervising all the details of guarding, packing, and trans- 
porting the works of art, in the midst of the unsettled conditions that prevailed 
in Bolzano Province during the summer of 1945. To list a quarter of the prob- 
lems that beset him and his assistant, T/5 Charles S. Bernholz, Jr., during this 
hot summer would fill this book. A twenty-four hour guard was maintained 
by Fifth Army soldiers at both deposits during the entire two-month period. 
Italians were called in to do the packing. Signor Nicolussi, an assistant from 
the Superintendency of Trento, supervised the construction of 109 large crates 
at San Leonardo, which had to be built in a stable as there was no room in 
the jail. Expert packers from Milan built 46 crates for the pictures and other 
objects from the Contini and Finaly collections. Lumber came from captured 
German stores, especially released by Fifth Army. 

Early in June Captain Keller called again for Rossi and me, and we made 
our second trip up from Florence to determine exactly what objects would go 
into what cases and make a complete case-by-case numbered inventory to be 
used during unloading in Florence. On the way we regretfully left the faithful 
Franco with his family in Mantua, his place being taken by Alessandro Olschki, 
the son of Comm. Aldo Olschki, the noted rare-book dealer and publisher. 
From then until the end of August, when I left Tuscany for good, Sandro 
labored cheerfully with us. It seemed to all of us at this time that the only way 
to transport the hundreds of heavy cases all the way back to Florence was by 
truck, and all our calculations were made with this in mind. In fact we went so 
far as to agree on the use of fifty GI trucks for the purpose, and to estimate a 
travel time of four days, proceeding at a crawl, with three nights spent on the 
road. Captain Keller placed the request for the trucks with Lieutenant Colonel 
Toscani (the Major Joppolo of Bell for Adano), and Rossi and I, on our way 
back to Florence, were assigned the job of picking our bivouac areas for the 
entire convoy. 

This was no small task. We had to find places where the trucks could all be 
parked under cover, where fifty drivers and their relief, another fifty, plus the 
Military Police guards and the officers could eat, sleep, and obtain fresh water. 
After careful search in a number of cities and the elimination of many sug- 
gestions we decided upon stops at a large factory in a place called Mas Deserta, 
just south of Trento, the Cavallerizza of the Ducal Palace in Mantua (with 
alternative shelter under the palace arcades in case of rain), and the Bologna 
stadium with the adjacent cavalry barracks — inspected by my old assistant 
Paul Bleecker, who had for the past month been helping Captain Pinsent in 

The deciding factor was the availability of the trucks. Colonel Toscani could 

{ 107 } 


not let us have them. They were hauling emergency rations to the famished 
cities of Turin and Milan, from which they could not be spared. So all plans 
were scrapped and Captain Keller began to work out the details of a trip by 
rail, since it was hoped that by July rail communications would be restored 
between the Alto Adige and Florence. The contents of Campo Tures would 
be loaded onto freight cars at the nearby station, and when the train was com- 
pletely made up in Brunico, five miles or so away, it would go to Bolzano to 
meet another section bringing the San Leonardo load from Merano. Three 
trucks were needed at Campo Tures and six at San Leonardo, which was more 
than an hour’s drive from the Merano railway station. The completed train 
would proceed to Florence as soon as possible, to be met there by trucks from 
PBS, which would unload the entire treasure and transport it to the Pitti Palace. 

So for the third time Rossi and I, famliar now with every bomb crater in 
the road, made our long trip from Florence to Bolzano. Keller had his new 
plan all ready down to the last detail, with the efficient collaboration of the 
staff of Fifth Army amg. The army commander, Lieut. Gen. Lucian C. Trus- 
cott, had even lent his personal plane so that Captain Rust, the administra- 
tive officer, might fly to Livorno, pick up a load of fifty fire extinguishers and 
get them back to Bolzano in time to be of use during the trip. 

Lieut. Col. Elmer N. Holmgreen, the governor of Anzio for the duration 
of the famous beachhead, was in command of the train. Maj. Arthur R. 
Schmidt, commanding officer of the 630th Anti-Aircraft Battalion, Military 
Police, had brought sixty of his men and four officers to guard the shipment, 
whose value Rossi estimated at $500,000,000. On Monday, July 16, loading 
started simultaneously at San Leonardo and Campo Tures, with Keller super- 
vising in the latter deposit and me in the former. I had by far the easier assign- 
ment, as the job of moving the heavy sculpture fell to Keller, who had to ob- 
tain a wrecker to handle the larger pieces, as well as freight cars with especially 
large entrances to accommodate such enormous masses as the Niobe and Pietro 
Tacca’s Boar. As I accompanied my first truckload of towering crates, dustproof 
and practically waterproof, down the mountain road toward Merano, guarded 
by an MP with a glittering helmet, it gave me not only unspeakable personal 
satisfaction but a deep pride in the Allied cause when I realized how sharply 
this journey contrasted with the manner in which the pictures had come up 
the same road (Fig. 53). 

By July 20 we were ready. The works of art filled thirteen freight cars. In 
addition there were six cars for the guards, spotted throughout the train, a 
kitchen car, a passenger and office car, and a flat car carrying the jeeps assigned 
to Captain Keller and Colonel Holmgreen. At the last minute it was decided 
that someone was needed in Florence to arrange the details of the unload- 

i lOS } 


ing procedure, as well as the ceremony in which the works of art were to be 
delivered to the people of Florence by General Hume, as head of amg Fifth 
Army. The choice fell on me. The trip by car normally took two days, given 
the condition of the roads. Sandro and I started off at ten in the morning and 
reached Lake Garda about one, speeding along the road carved through the 
cliff high over the iridescent lake. At Gardone we made a two-hour stop at 
Fifth Army headquarters and then set off again across the valley of the Po and 
up into the dark Apennines at night, along Route 64 to Pistoia. In the network 
of by-passes and cut-offs surrounding the obliterated village of Marzabotto 
we got lost at midnight, and only at four in the morning did we arrive, ex- 
hausted, in Florence. At seven we had to begin again, arranging storage space 
for the works of art in the Bargello and the Pitti, and transporting workmen 
to the Campo di Marte railway yards. 

Meanwhile the train had proceeded without major incident. At Trento 
there was a long stop because the relief train crew had not arrived, so Captain 
Keller, in the words of his report, “made a speech to the Inspector, and told 
him that if there was going to be palaver at every stop we would put an MP 
with drawn automatic at the back of the engineer and treat him in true SS 
manner. There were no stops of any length for some time.” It is worth noting 
that this was the first freight train to cross the Po since the Germans blew up 
the bridges. Also, by one of the sublime ironies of history, the immense wooden 
bridge on which the train carrying the Florentine art treasures crossed the Po 
was made of the logs from the forest of Camaldoli. 

At two o’clock in the afternoon of July 21 the train arrived in the searing 
heat of the Campo di Marte. Unloading began at once, and by the end of the 
afternoon twelve truckloads had been safely stowed away in the basement 
of the Palazzo Pitti. On Sunday morning we loaded six more trucks. The 
first one, flying American and Italian flags, was provided with a huge sign 
bearing the Fifth Army insignia and an inscription, worded by Poggi. Others 
had suggested such wording as “The Florentine treasures, stolen by the Ger- 
mans, are returned by the Americans,” and similar obvious propaganda phrases. 
Poggi crossed out all these inscriptions and wrote simply, “Le opere d’arte 
fiorentine tornano dall’Alto Adige alia loro sede” (The Florentine works of 
art return from the Upper Adige to their home). Nothing more w^as needed 
(Fig- 54)- 

At eleven-thirty the procession formed. First came a jeep loaded with MP’s; 
then “Lucky 13,” well shined and proudly driven by Sandro, carrying Poggi, 
Rossi, and me; then Captain Keller’s jeep driven by Bernholz, bearing Keller, 
Colonel Holmgreen, and Major Schmidt. Slowly we moved at the head of the 
six trucks forming our symbolic convoy around the city to Piazza Donatello, 

{ 109 } 


from there at a snail’s pace down Via Cav'our and Via Martelli, through crowds 
of cheering, even weeping Florentines. By the time the simple procession 
reached the Piazza del Duomo, white with marble in the summer sun, High 
Mass had let out and the police were holding back the crowds on the steps 
of the Duomo. 

A wave of applause and cries of “Bravo!” greeted us. From the slender 
heights of the campanile of Giotto the great cathedral bells struck twelve as we 
moved down the dark cleft of Via Calzaioli, past the majestic figures now re- 
placed in their niches in Orsanmichele, into the crowded Piazza della Signoria. 
The arches of the Loggia dei Lanzi were filled with Allied and Italian digni- 
taries, and the Florentine trumpeters in their mediaeval costumes blew us a 
salute inaudible over the shouts of the crowd, as the huge trucks manoeuvred 
around to their positions below the bulk of Palazzo Vecchio (Fig. 55). Brief 
and moving speeches were delivered by General Hume and the venerable 
mayor of Florence, Prof. Gaetano Pieraccini. As the General walked into 
Palazzo Vecchio the populace burst into a demonstration the like of which 
for sincerity and spontaneity I have seldom witnessed. The people crowded 
about him, embracing him, weeping with joy, striving to touch his imiform. 

Then it was all over. In the words of Colonel DeWald, our mission in Italy 
was accomplished. But day after day the careful job of unloading continued, 
all the paintings going to the Pitti and to the Uffizi, all the sculpture being 
unloaded into the courtyard of the Bargello. Not a single discrepancy in the 
inventory turned up, not an object was damaged. By July 24 the complex 
operation, which in addition to the Superintendencies of Florence, of Venice 
and of Trento, the Committee of National Liberation, the Italian State Rail- 
ways, the MF.w officers of Fifth Army, Emilia, and Tuscany, had in two months 
enlisted the aid of no less than ten separate military units of Fifth Army, pbs, 
and OSS, was completed. There w'as little more for me to do save write my final 
report to the mf.v.v Subcommission on the work of fourteen months of salvage 
and repair in Tuscany, now turned over completely to the Italian Government 
save only for Lucca and Apuania Provinces. 

After so many experiences it was a terrible wrench to leave Florence. On 
August 21. as “Lucky 13" took me for the last time up Route 65 and I turned my 
head for my last look at the crystal clear form of Brunelleschi’s cupola against 
the Tuscan hills I thought of all that we had accomplished since that day, a 
little over a year before, when Franco and I entered the city from Poggio Im- 
periale under the thunder of the guns. 

/ no } 

6. Florence, Piazzetta del Rossi, showing Torre dei Mannelli, now restored 
the arch or Via de' Bardi, and Torre di Parte Guelta, now totally destroyed 

S. The same, and Palazzo del Turco, .-\ugust 1944 

II. I'ldiciu c. Via I’or S. Man.i, showing Tiiitc ik-gli Amide 


21. Sunning fragments of the polyptych (in the foreground can be seen 
the Pontormo panel from the church at Pontorme) 



Pisa. Campo Sa 
Detail sho'.v irit: ^ 

i.mik- I lu' same, Di'ccmlicr H)4|, showini; niiiis of cainjiaiiilc and 

damaj^cd loll aisle of eliiireh 

__ ■M^.asSI 't — fat '^'^ 

46 . Cortona, S. Domenico. Fra .Angelico. Madonna Enthroned with Saints 
triptych. December 6, 1944 

■- .i 




The following monuments were found to be either intact, so slightly damaged 
as to make intervention by the mfaa office unnecessary, or under repair by local 
authorities. The works of art they contained were likewise intact. It should 
be borne in mind that under wartime conditions all the monuments of interest 
could not possibly be visited. 

ANGHIARI (Arezzo) 



Palazzo Communale 
S. Agostino 

ANTELLA (Florence) 

S. Caterina 
Parish church 
Villa Mondeggi 
ARCETRI (Florence) 

Villa Capponi 
Torre del Gallo 
Villa La Gallina 
Villa Curonia 
ARCIDOSSO (Grosseto) 

S. Maria delle Grazie 
Palazzo Sforza 

AREZZO (Arezzo) 

SS. Annunziata 
Palazzo Communale 
ARTIMINO (Florence) 

Villa Medici 
ASCIANO (Siena) 

S. Agostino 
S. Francesco 
S. Sebastiano 
Palazzo Tolomci 
Abbey of Rofeno 
B.\DIA A ISOLA (Siena) 

Parish church 

.Abbey church 

B.ADIA TED.ALDA (.Arezzo) 
Parish church 

B.AGXO A RIPOLI (Florence) 
Villa Gli Olmi 

BARG A (Lucca) 

S. Francesco 
BELC.ARO (Siena) 



Villa Belvedere al Saraceno 
Villa Roti-Michelozzi 
BIBBIENA (Arezzo) 


S. Lorenzo 
Madonna del Sasso 
Palazzo Dovizi 
BROZZI (Florence) 

S. Donnino 


S. Pietro e Paolo 
Palazzo Farnetano 
CAFAGGIOLO (Florence) 

Villa xMedici 

C.ALENZANO (Florence) 

S. Donato 

CA-MALDOLI (.Arezzo) 


Sacred Hermitage 

Villa Torrigiani 

Palazzo Communale 
C.AREGGI (Florence) 

Villa Medici 
C.ARRAR.A (Apuania) 

S. Francesco 

House of Emmanuele Repetti 
Castello Malaspina 
Museo Luna 

{ 113 } 



Villa Antinori 
CASEROTTA (Florence) 

Villa Canucci 


S. Francesco 

Oratory of the Visitation 
Madonna della Tosse 
Chiesa delle Monache 
GASTELLO (Florence) 

S. Michele 
VUla Corsini 
Villa Pozzino 

ABATE (Siena) 

S. Antimo 



Parish church 

CERBAIA (Florence) 

Casa Bandinelli 


Parish church 
Villa Medici 

CERTALDO (Florence) 


SS. Michele e Jacopo 
Palazzo Pretorio 

Parish church 

Chiesetta della Morte 
Palazzo Communale 

House of S. Galgano 
CHIUSI (Arezzo) 


S. Caterina 
S. Maria Canonica 
S. Pietro 

House of Arnolfo di Cambio 
Museo Civico 
Palazzo Campana 
Palazzo Pretorio 

Palazzo Vescovile 
COLLODI (Pistoia) 

Villa Garzoni 
COMPIOBBI (Florence) 

Villa Poggio alle Palme 
CORTONA (Arezzo) 

S. Domenico 
S. Marco 
S. Margherita 
S. Niccolo 
Loggia del Grano 
Etruscan Walls 
Palazzo Pretorio 
Casa Berettini 
CUNA (Siena) 

Parish church 

DIECLMO (Lucca) 

Parish church 

FALTIGNANO (Florence) 

S. Bartolommeo 
FARNETA (Lucca) 


FIESOLE (Florence) 

S. Domenico 
S. Francesco 
Museo Bandini 
Museo Archeologico 
Roman theater 
Villa Medici 
FIGLINE (Florence) 

Palazzo Pretorio 
FI\ IZZANO (Apuania) 

Parish church 

All monuments not listed as damaged 
have been inspected and found intact. 

Parish church 
GAMBASSI (Florence) 

S. Maria in Chianni 
GRASSINA (Florence) 

^ ilia L'L’golino 
Villa Signorini 
Castel Montauto 
GROPINA ( .\rezzo) 

{ IM } 


Parish church 
GROPPOLI (Pistoia) 

S. Michele 

GROSSETO (Grosseto) 

S. Pietro 

Museo Communale 

GROTTI (Siena) 

Castello Nerli 
LA FOCE (Lucca) 

Villa Foce 


Parish church 
Villa Gattaiola 
LA LOGGIA (Florence) 

Villa Salviati 
LA PIETRA (Florence) 

Villa Acton 
Villa Capponi 
Villa Landau 

LASTRA A SIGNA (Florence) 

Villa Lotteringhi della Stufa 
LECORE (Florence) 

S. Pietro 
S. Angelo 

LEGNAIA (Florence) 

S. Angelo 
LE ROSE (Siena) 

ViUa Antinori 
LIGNANO (Florence) 

S. Giusto 

LIVORNO (Livorno) 

S. Caterina 
Fortezza Vecchia 
Sanctuary of Montenero 

All monuments not listed as damaged 
have been inspected and found intact. 

S. Francesco 

Torre del Cassero 

S. Giovanni Battista 
Palazzo dei Priori 
Casa Checco il Bello 
MANTIGNANO (Florence) 

Parish church 

MARCIOLA (Florence) 

S. Maria 

MARLIA (Lucca) 

Villa Reale 
Villa Grabau 
Villa Paolozzi 

Palazzo Pretorio 
Porta Senese 
MENSANO (Siena) 

S. Giovanni Battista 
S. Sebastiano 
MENSOLA (Florence) 

S. Martino 

MIRANSfJ (Florence) 

S. Lorenzo 


Villa Bellavista 

Parish church 

S. Agostino 
S. Antonio 
S. Caterina 
S. Egidio 

Palazzo Communale 


Parish church 

S. Leonardo 


Villa Sitwell 

MONTELUPO (Florence) 

Villa Medici 

Parish church 

Parish church 

Villa Guicciardini 
( Siena) 


{ 115 } 


S. Agnese 
S. Agostino 
S. Biagio 

S. Maria delle Grazie 
S. Maria dei Servi 
Museo Civico 
Pinacoteca Communale 
Palazzo Angioletti 
Palazzo Communale 
Palazzo Contucci 
Palazzo Ricci 
Palazzo Tarugi 

Cemetery chapel 
Mediaeval walls 


S. Agostino 
S. Chiara 

Loggia del Mcrcato 
Palazzo Communale 


Parish church 

S. Pietro 

MONTISI (Siena) 

Parish church 

NAVE A ROVE2ZANO (Florence) 
Villa Le Sentinelle 
ONANO (Grosseto) 

S. Croce 

Madonna del Piano 
Mediaeval houses 
Palazzo Madama 
ORBETELLO (Grosseto) 

Museo Etrusco 
Etruscan walls 
PAGANICO (Grosseto) 

S. Michele 
Torre Grossetana 
Mediaeval walls 
PASSIGNANO (Florence) 


PERETOLA (Florence) 

S. Maria 

PESCIA (Pistoia) 

S. Francesco 
Palazzo Galeotti 
Palazzo Pretorio 
PIENZA (Siena) 

Palazzo Ammanati 
Palazzo Vescovile 
Palazzo Piccolomini 
Palazzo Communale 
PISA (Pisa) 

Torre Campana 
Palazzo della Carovana 

Almost all the other monuments of Pisa 
were damaged. 

PISTOIA (Pistoia) 

S. Andrea 

S. Bartolommeo in Pantano 
S. Francesco 
S. Maria delle Grazie 
S. Paolo 

Ospedale del Ceppo 
Biblioteca Forteguerra 

Palazzo Communale 
Palazzo Pretorio 
Palazzo Rospigliosi 
Torre di Catilino 
PITIGLIANO (Grosseto) 

Etruscan wails 
Palazzo Orsini 

La Magione 
Villa Montelonti 
PONTE A ELSA (Florence) 

Villa La Bastia 

PONTE A GREVE (Florence) 

Villa L’AcciauoIo 
PONTE-LUNGO (Pistoia) 

Villa Bocchi Bianchi 

S. Francesco 
Mediaeval gates 
POPPI (Arezzo) 

Chiesa delle Monache 
S. Fedele 

Madonna del Morbo 
Palazzo Pretorio 

{ 116 } 


POPPIENA (Arezzo) 


PRATO (Florence) 
S. Domenico 
S. Francesco 
Madonna delle Career! 

PRATOLINO (Florence) 
Villa DemidofiE 
QUARTO (Florence) 

Villa Di Quarto 

REMOLE (Florence) 

S. Giovanni Battista 
REMOLUZZO (Florence) 
S. Maria 

RIGNALLA (Florence) 

S. Maria 

RIGOLI (Florence) 

Parish church 

S. Egidio 

ROMENA (Arezzo) 



ROMOLA (Florence) 

S. Maria 

ROSANO (Florence) 
Convent and church 
RUBALLA (Florence) 

S. Giorgio 
SALA (Florence) 

S. Lucia 

Villa Bernardini-Querci 
S. CASCIANO (Florence) 
Villa Corsini (Le Corti) 

S. Giuseppe 

Parish church 

S. GALGANO (Siena) 

S. GENNARO (Lucca) 
Parish church 

S. Jacopo 
S. Pietro 

Vecchia Cancelleria 
Ospedale S. Fina 
Palazzo Pratellesi 
Palazzo del Toro 


Parish church 


Pieve Nuova 
Pieve Vecchia 


Parish church 
S. MINTATO (Pisa) 

S. Domenico 
S. Francesco 
Palazzo Communale 
Palazzo Formichini 

Medieval walls 
S. Maria 

S. SEPOLCRO (Arezzo) 


Palazzo Communale 
S. Francesco 
S. STEFANO (Lucca) 

Villa Sardi 
Villa Frediana 
Villa Massoni 
Villa Orsetd 
Villa Orsini 
SATURNIA (Grosseto) 

Parish church 

Museo Etrusco 

SCANDICCI (Florence) 

S. Bartolo in Tuto 
S. Maria a Greve 

Villa Manzi 

SETTIGNANO (Florence) 

Chiesa dei Monaci 
S. Romano 
La Vannella 
SIENA (Siena) 

All monuments not listed as damaged 
are intact. 

{ 117 } 


SIGNA (Florence) 

S. Giovanni Battista 
S. Mauro 

S. Croce 
S. Lucia 
Palazzo Pretorio 
SORANA (Grosseto) 

S. Pietro 
Palazzo Orsini 
SOVANA (Grosseto) 

S. Maria 

Palazzo Aldobrandesco 
Palazzo del Monte 
Palazzo Pretorio 
STAGGIA (Siena) 

S. Maria 
STIA (Arezzo) 

Parish church 
S. Maria delle Grazie 
STRADA (Arezzo) 

Parish church 

TORRE A CONA (Florence) 
Villa Rossi 




TORRITA (Siena) 

S. Fiora 

Madonna della Neve 
TOSA (Grosseto) 

Etruscan ruins 
TREBBIO (Florence) 

Medici casde 


Parish church 

VILLAMAGNA (Florence) 
S. Romolo 

VOLOGNANO (Florence) 
Villa Poggio a Luco 
VULCI (Grosseto) 

Montalto di Castro 

S. Agostino 
S. Francesco 
S. Girolamo 
S. Giusto 
S. Michele 
Cappella Sergardi 

Palazzo Pretorio 
Palazzo dei Priori 
Walls and gates 



A considerable number of monuments of minor importance have been omitted 
from this list. Only the most summary indications of the character and contents 
of the buildings have been given. 


S. Jacopo 

Important Romanesque transept fayade. 
Remainder of church modern. Shell struck 
close to large marble lion at upper corner 
of fayade, pushing it out of place. Re- 

AREZZO f.\rezzo) 


Trecento Gothic building, with rich series 

of works of art, notably Gothic tombs, 
Della Robbia reliefs, the Magdalen by 
Piero della Francesca, and ceiling frescoes 
and stained glass by Guglielmo di Mar- 

Shell holes in roof, ten per cent to reset; 
broken windows. Repairs completed Feb- 
ruary 15, 1945. 


Fine Cinquecento church by Vasari with 

{ ns } 


important Renaissance cloister attributed 
to Giuliano da Maiano (Figs. 44-45). 
Direct hit by a stick of heavy caliber 
bombs completely destroyed two sides of 
the cloister, both stories. Concussion 
smashed most of the roof tiles over church, 
and rain water seeped through the vaults. 
By October the church was awash. 

Roof of church completely retiled. All 
rubble cleared from cloister and all archi- 
tectural fragments sorted out. One leaning 
column of top story of cloister brought 
back into line by tie rod and screw, re- 
constructing the vault above. Twenty per 
cent of roof timber of cloister replaced. 
Remaining two sides of cloister completely 
reroofed, largely with new tiles. Work 
completed in May, and monument out of 
danger. It is possible to reconstruct the 
cloister completely. Altarpieces, decora- 
tions, and Bartolommeo della Gatta 
fresco have not suffered. Three lunettes 
by Angiolo di Lorcntino detached from 
cloister and brought to safety. Enormous 
Vasari painting of Banquet of Ahasuerus 
removed from ruins of cloister and 
brought to museum, almost unscratched. 

S. Bartolommeo 

Unimportant mediaeval church. 

Heavy damage to roof, eighty per cent to 
reconstruct; facade badly cracked. Work 
completed March 30, 1945. 

S. Bernardo 

Small church, built on ruins of Roman 
arena. Contained the only known frescoes 
by Marco da Montepulciano, and fresco 
by Bartolommeo della Gatta. Porch con- 
tained earliest preserved fresco by Giorgio 

Church unroofed and partially demolished 
by heavy caliber bombs. It seemed useless 
to try to save the structure itself, and 
work was limited to detaching the en- 
dangered frescoes. 

S. Domenico 

Gothic church with frescoes by Trecento 
Aretine masters. 

Roof largely disarranged by blast; twenty- 
five per cent of tiles to replace, and prac- 

tically all to reset. Interior frescoes already 
beginning to show effects of dampness. 
Work completed January 15, 1945. 

S. Francesco 

Gothic church with fresco series of first 

Minor but widespread roof damage, with 
consequent danger to frescoes of Piero 
della Francesca; fifteen per cent of tiles 
to replace. Work completed May 20, 1945. 

S. Marta in Gradi 

Good Cinquecento church rebuilt by Bar- 
tolommeo Ammanati. Madonna del Soc- 
corso, by Andrea della Robbia. Fine 
Cinquecento gilded and painted organ. 
All works of art intact. 

Widespread blast damage to roof and to 
fine wooden ceiling. Twenty-five per cent 
of tiles to replace. Windows damaged. All 
damage repaired May 27, 1945. 

S. Maria delle Grazie 
Slight roof damage by blast and flying 
fragments to loggia by Benedetto da 
Maiano. .^11 damage repaired December 
30, 1944. 


Romanesque church of first importance. 
Widespread blast damage to roof; seventy 
windows broken, three per cent of roof 
timbers and thirty per cent of tiles to re- 
place. Effects of continuous rains already 
felt in ancient and fragile interior. All 
damage to roof repaired May 18, 1945, but 
still impossible to close the windows. 
Great altarpiece by Pietro Lorenzetti taken 
to safety in Florence. 

S. Sebastiano 

Uninteresting church badly wrecked by 
bombs. Fine Enthroned Madonna fresco 
by Lorentino d’Andrea had to be detached 
from threatened wall. 

House of Petrarch 

Trecento house in which Petrarch was 
born, completely rebuilt in Quattrocento, 
with fine, two-story loggia. 

Half destroyed by bombs. Repairs to re- 
maining part, fifty per cent of roof to 

i 119 } 


rebuild. Demolition of endangered ex- 
ternal walls, about twenty per cent of 
total surface. Reconstruction of walls for 
consolidation about ten per cent of sur- 
face. Repairs to roof completed, but rest 
of work turned over to Italian Govern- 
ment; now completely reconstructed. 

House of Vasari 

Sumptuous interiors, frescoed and stuc- 
coed by Giorgio Vasari for his own resi- 

Shell damage to roof, five per cent to re- 
place and fifteen per cent to reset. Cracks 
in walls. Repairs completed February 20, 
1945. Frescoes by Vasari intact. 

Palazzo Altucci 

Interior of this fine Gothic house half 
destroyed by bombs. Corresponding half 
of fagade pulled down by British engi- 
neering unit without warning or permis- 
sion. Remaining half to be consolidated 
and partly reroofed. Work completed by 
the end of July 1945. 

Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo 
Trecento palace. 

Half destroyed by bombs; in remaining 
portion fifteen per cent of roof to recon- 
struct and thirty per cent of new tiles to 
lay. Roof repairs, consolidation of masonry, 
and construction of a supporting spur for 
fagade completed July 13, 1945. 

AULLA (Apuania) 

5 . Caprasio 

Heavy damage to roof and left wall. 

BADIA A RIPOLI (Florence) 

S. Bartolommeo 

Eleventh century church remodeled in 
Cinquecento. Works of art, chiefly by 
Mannerist and Baroque minor masters, all 

Roof damaged by shells, to reset with five 
per cent new tiles. Some damage to 
masonry. Ail repairs completed. 


Former Abbey Church of S. Salvatore 
See text. pp. 61-62, and figs. 22-24. Ger- 
mans blew up campanile and Torre del 

Colombaione, destroying completely the 
left aisle of the nave for three-quarters 
of its length, the room adjacent to the 
chapel of S. Quintino, and the great 
Gothic relief on the Colombaione, as well 
as carrying away or smashing most of the 
roof tiles. Two bays of cloister have fallen 
as a result of artillery damage. Relief on 
Torre del Colombaione completely de- 

All rubble of campanile has been ex- 
cavated, uncovering the plan. Approxi- 
mately one meter of campanile remains 
standing. A plaster cast of the top of the 
campanile has been taken in order to 
make reconstruction possible. Walls have 
been erected to close off completely the 
left aisle. Nave completely reroofed, so 
that mediaeval painted ceiling is out of 
danger. No damage to the Della Robbia 
medallions in chancel. Chapel of S. Quin- 
tino also walled off and reroofed. Con- 
solidation of frescoes of Giovanni da San 
Giovanni completed. Left aisle recon- 
structed by Italian Government. 

BARGA (Lucca) 


Fine Romanesque church, badly restored 
after earthquake of 1920. Magnificent 
pulpit of 1233 attributed to Guido da 
Como. All works of art intact, save for 
two or three fragmentation scratches on 

Almost complete destruction or dislocation 
of roofing surface. Several shell holes in 
roof and walls. Work of reroofing com- 

S. Annunziata 

Church lined with rich wooden carved 
and gilded Baroque altars in local style. 
Heavy shell damage to roof; had to be at 
least half replaced. All roof repairs com- 

Chiesa del Conservatorio di S. Elisabetta 
Unimportant church with large Della 
Robbia relief. 

Heavy shell damage to roof, now com- 
pletely repaired. 

{ no } 


Chiesa del Crocifisso 

Church with interesting local Baroque 
wood-carved choir stalls. 

Roof mostly gone. Vaults collapsed. 

S. Rocco 

Damage to roof, windows, and doors. 

Palazzo Pretoria 

Early Quattrocento building. 

Heavy damage to roof, now repaired. 

BIVIGLIANO (Florence) 

S. Romolo 

Unimportant church with fine terra cotta 
altarpiece by school of Andrea della 

Considerable roof damage, repaired De- 
cember 1944. 


S. Giorgio (Pieve) 

Fine Lucchese Romanesque church in 
spectacular posidon, with splendid Roman- 
esque pulpit. 

Heavy damage to roof by shellfire, ap- 
proximately seventy per cent of material 
to replace. Slight damage to pulpit and 
none to Della Robbia relief of St. George. 
Roof already completely repaired. Re- 
pairs to damaged masonry and architec- 
tural details completed by Italian Govern- 

S. Andrea 

Mediaeval church with Quattrocento cam- 
panile. Annunciation by Giovanni dal 
Ponte and Crucifix by Giovanni di Fran- 
cesco removed to Florence for restoration. 
Campanile and apse mined and utterly 
destroyed by Germans. Roof dies largely 
fractured and blown away. 

Apse, triumphal arch, and base of cam- 
panile rebuilt in order to close the church. 
Roof completely repaired. Works of art, 
especially fresco of Baptism by Ghirlan- 
daio, undamaged by war. Campanile now 
reconstructed by Italian Government. 

CALCI (Pisa) 


Vast, late Baroque monastery, with rich 
Settecento sculptural and pictorial decora- 

tion. Used as deposit for most precious 
works of art from Pisa. 

Hundreds of shell hits throughout, ruin- 
ing the roof and damaging marble and 
masonry. All roof damage repaired almost 
at once in order to save interior from 
damage by rain water. Repairs to masonry 
yet to be done. 


S. Biagio di Lombrici 
Thirteenth century church. 

Roof considerably damaged. 

S. Michele 

Eleventh century church. Heavy damage 
to roof, now repaired. 

Museo d'Arte Sacra 

Contains important works of mediaeval 
and Renaissance liturgical art, all intact. 
Considerable damage to roof and walls. 

CANDELI (Florence) 

S. Andrea 

Interesting Rococo church. 

Roof over central aisle gone completely, 
and partly destroyed over side aisles and 
chapels. Damage also to walls. Wall re- 
pairs completed and roof rebuilt. 


Villa Malaspina 

Sumptuous late Baroque villa in Ligurian 
style, with rich decorative frescoes of 
illusionistic architecture. 

Roof almost completely destroyed, en- 
dangering frescoed halls. 

CAPRAIA (Florence) 

S. Stefano 

Romanesque church, unimportant save as 
key to one of the most beaudful hill towns 
of Arno valley. 

Heavy damage due to continuous shelling 
for a month. Roof almost completely col- 
lapsed, as well as certain parts of walls. 
Heavy damage to campanile. Repairs to 
walls and roof completed under amg; cam- 
panile dismanded and rebuilt by Italian 

CARDOSO (Apuania) 

S. Maria Assunta 

Considerable damage to roof and marble 

{ 121 } 



S. Pietro 

Magnificent early Romanesque church, re- 
lated to Gropina, Romena, Strada, Stia, 
and Santa Maria in Chianni. Romanesque 
capitals intact. 

Shell damage to portico and to apse. Work 
completed and apse liberated from ad- 
jacent structures. 


5 . Maria Assunta 

Interesting Trecento church, with im- 
portant works of art. 

Roof almost completely blown off by shell- 
fire, including damage to some of the 
beams. Fragmentation damage sustained 
by Della Robbia school altarpiece, Segna 
di Bonaventura fresco, and two Gano da 
Siena tombs. Superintendent waited eight 
months before making a preventivo, which 
was later held up and never financed. 
Superintendent gave orders May lo, 1945, 
to suspend work, but parroco went ahead 
anyway, and church is now completely re- 
roofed and out of danger. Altarpiece by 
Andrea di Niccolo and fragments of dam- 
aged sculpture collected by priest and 
stored in his house. 

GASTELLO (Florence) 

Villa Reale 

Badly restored villa, with superb Mannerist 
garden designed by Tribolo. Garden 
largely intact. 

Roof badly damaged by shellfire, 130 sq. 
meters destroyed, 900 sq. meters discon- 
nected. Holes in facade, one demolished 
ceiling. Repairs to roof and masonry com- 
pleted end of May 1945. 

Villa La Petraia 

Castle, reconstructed by Brunelleschi and 
Buontalenti. Fine Baroque frescoes by 
Volterrano in courtyard. 

Many shell hits throughout the building, 
devastating the roof, and ruining walls, 
ceiling, drapery, furniture, architectural 
details, etc. Roof completely repaired. Re- 
pairs proceeding to interior and to archi- 
tectural details. Volterrano frescoes lucki- 
ly undamaged. 



Church often rebuilt. Fine Renaissance 
facade (1504), rich series of Baroque altars 
with spiral columns. Assumption by Sand 
di Tito destroyed. 

Enormous bomb damage to roof, vaults 
pierced in several places, left lateral chapel 
demolished; all damage repaired by Italian 
Government with funds provided by amg. 


Church completely rebuilt early nineteenth 
century. Substructions used as deposit for 
all important works of art in town. 
Extensive blast damage to roof; to be 
seventy per cent reset. Work completed 
early August. No damage to great Ma- 
donna by Segna di Bonaventura, to Bar- 
tolommeo della Gatta altarpiece, or to 

5 . Agostino 

Early Trecento church. 

Roof destroyed, about 35 sq. meters. Re- 
pairs completed early in August. 

S. Lazzo 

Small, abandoned Trecento church, with 
interesting frescoes by Sienese masters. 
Three-quarters of roof destroyed; much of 
timber to replace. Roof completely re- 
paired, and large Crucifixion fresco con- 


S. Paolo 

Small thirteenth century church in mag- 
nificent location on desolate mountainside. 
Mined and half destroyed by the Ger- 
mans. In process of reconstruction by the 
Italian Government. 


Chapel of Monte Siepi 
Circular Romanesque church. 

Shell destroyed 20 sq. meters of roof, 
smashing beams, damaging masonry as 
well. .\11 damage repaired; frescoes by 
.Lmbrogio Lorenzetti school intact. 

f 122 } 



S. Agostino 

Church by Antonio da Sangallo il Vecchio, 
much restored. Works of art by Taddeo di 
Bartolo, Bronzino, Cigoli, and Baccio da 
Montelupo all intact. 

CORTONA (Arezzo) 

S. Francesco 

Thirteenth century Gothic church. 
Damage to roof timbers of one bay, now 

S. Maria del Calcinaio 
Masterpiece of Francesco di Giorgio. 
Damage to roof, about 400 sq. meters had 
to be redone. Stonework on the outside in 
bad state. Roof of the cupola recovered in 
lead; much of architectural detail badly 
crumbled by infiltrations of water; re- 
stored by Italian Government. 

5 . Maria Nuova 

Fine Cinquecento church on Greek cross 
plan, now attributed to Vasari. Altar- 
pieces by Empoli and others. 

A few shaken roof tiles permitted water 
to enter roof of right transept; roof beams 
became water-logged, water seeped into 
one of four piers upholding cupola, froze, 
and started splitting the pier. Whole sand- 
stone pier in shattered condition and 
stability of entire monument endangered. 
The two small upholding arches have 
been very well shored by a dense structure 
of beams which carries much of the 
weight of the cupola. Lumini erected a 
brick structure topped with a reinforced 
concrete collar which will take all the 
weight of the cupola, and permit the sub- 
stitution of the pier. Work being com- 
pleted by Italian Government. 

Palazzo Casali 

Often restored mediaeval town hall. 

Large section of interior destroyed by 
German mines. Work of reconstruction 
and restoration completed by Italian Gov- 
ernment, with renovated Museo Civico. 

EMPOLI (Florence) 


Church with green and white marble 

Florentine Romanesque facade and stately 
Settecento interior by Ruggini (Figs. 28- 

Campanile blown up by Germans, de- 
stroying completely in its fall the museum, 
the rear half of the nave roof and ceiling, 
half of the cloister, and the rear half of 
the right nave wall with the lateral chapels 
and right transept. Rubble was piled in a 
tangle of beams and stone throughout the 
nave. The baptistery and adjacent corridor 
were largely destroyed, but magnificent 
Quattrocento font salvaged intact. 

Right wall with lateral chapels and tran- 
sept reconstructed, incorporating original 
capitals, in order to close the church. All 
new roof beams in place. Church reroofed 
under amg; Baroque ceiling restored by 
Italian Government. Five pictures from 
the museum (an Empoli, two Cigoli, a 
Macchietti, and a Botticini) were com- 
pletely smashed to bits. The great Masolino 
fresco had been detached and taken to 
Florence, where it is now intact. All 
other works of art saved. Campanile in 
process of reconstruction by Italian Gov- 
ernment and local authorities. 

S. Agostino 

Gothic church with important works of 

Campanile blown up by Germans, de- 
molishing entire apse, plus triumphal 
arch, left lateral chapel, and last two 
arches of left nave arcade. Roof beams in 
this location fell, and roof tiles were 
largely blown away or fractured through- 
out the church. 

Destroyed arches and triumphal arch com- 
pletely reconstructed to permit closing of 
church. Destroyed apse and left chapel 
walled off. Destroyed beams replaced and 
church completely reroofed with new 
tiles. Recently discovered frescoes by Ma- 
solino and Stamina have suffered from 
dampness during winter. Destroyed por- 
tions now completely reconstmcted by 
Italian Government. 

S. Maria al Petroio 

Roof blown away completely, with only a 
few beams left. Reconstruction completed. 

i 123 } 


FIESOLE (Florence) 

S. Alessandro 

Sixth century church, often restored. Six- 
teen Roman columns of oriental marble. 
Panel by Gerino da Pistoia. 

Roof severely damaged by shellfire; thirty 
per cent to reconstruct and fifty per cent 
to reset. Cracks in wall of apse. Rubble 
cleared and roof repairs completed. Res- 
toration proceeding under Italian Gov- 

S. Ansano 

Damage by shellfire to walls and roof. 
Work completed, May 3, 1945; campanile 
and portico still to be reconstructed. 

Badia Piesolana 

Romanesque fagade embedded in mag- 
nificent Quattrocento church formerly at- 
tributed to Brunelleschi. Interior and all 
works of art intact. Shell damage to roof, 
particularly to fifteenth century loggia. 
Work completed September 15, i 945 - 

FIGLINE (Florence) 

5 . Francesco 

Gothic church with important frescoes. 
Explosion of a munitions train in neigh- 
boring freight yard caused heavy damage 
to roof and bent facade outward. Rain 
began to fall on frescoes of Francesco di 
Antonio and of school of Botticelli. 
Fagade demolished down to level of fres- 
coes and rebuilt; 250 sq. meters of roof 
rebuilt and 500 sq. meters reset. Work fin- 
ished January 1945. 

Maria 55 . del Ponterosso 

Damage to roof through shelling. About 

300 sq. meters redone. 

FLORENCE (see map, following p. 140) 
55 . Apostoli 

Eleventh century church, heavily re- 
stored. Works of art intact. 

Widespread damage to roof tiles due to 
explosion. Work completed March 3 ^> 


Gothic church with fine octagonal cam- 
panile, and superb portal by Benedetto da 

Rovezzano. Interior remodeled in 1627. 
Works of art intact, including Vision of 
St. Bernard by Filippino Lippi (in de- 

La Calza 

Small Trecento church, remodeled. Works 
of art intact, including Crucifix by Lo- 
renzo Monaco and Last Supper by Fran- 

Shell holes in roof, damaging 35 sq. meters 
of tiles. Repairs completed October 30, 


Shell holes in roof of church and cloister; 
broken windows had to be closed at once 
as church was awash with rain. Work 
completed February 1945. Masaccio and 
Masolino frescoes unharmed, though 
danger from dampness was feared. 
Gentie cleaning of this great fresco series 
has brought to light new beauties of sur- 
face and detail. 

5 . Croce 

Gothic church of universal importance. 
One shell hole, and other damage to roof; 
many windows broken. All repairs com- 
pleted in December 1944- Recent survey 
has disclosed that roof timbers are in a 
dangerous condition throughout, due to 
extreme age, and that enormous labors 
will be necessary to assure the stability of 
the roof. All frescoes, sculpture, altar- 
pieces. illuminated manuscripts, and other 
works of art intact. Removal of large 
Cinquecento altarpicces for cleaning has 
disclosed considerable sections of Or- 
cagna’s Last Judgment, w'hose surface, 
though hacked aw'ay in strips for altar- 
pieces, is remarkably fresh w’here pre- 

5 . Felice 

Small Gothic church, with splendid Quat- 
trocento facade by Michelozzo. Works of 
art intact. 

Shell holes in roof, 200 sq. meters to re- 
set. Work completed. 

{ 124 } 


S. Eelicita 

Church rebuilt in eighteenth century by 

Roof damaged by explosions, ceiling dam- 
aged, windows and door frames discon- 
nected and destroyed; tombstones cracked 
and broken. Roof completely repaired; 
repairs to smashed doors and windows 
completed under amg. Pontormo altar- 
piece (in deposit) and frescoes in Capponi 
chapel intact, with all other works of art. 

S. Frediano 

Pretentious Baroque church. 

Roof and dome damaged by mines and 
shellfire. Most of roof and many large 
windows to repair. Work completed April 
30, 1945. Decorative frescoes intact, 

S. Jacopo sopr Arno 

Twelfth century church with Rococo in- 

Fine eighteenth century ceiling frescoes 
by Meucci completely destroyed through 
explosions; 50 sq. meters of roof to re- 
place and 150 to rework. Repairs to roof 
completed April 30, 1945. 

S. Lorenzo 

Brunelleschi’s finest church, with works 
of art of universal importance. Both Sa- 
grestia Vecchia and Medici Chapel escaped 
damage. Works of Donatello were well 
protected. Michelangelo statues removed 
to Torre a Cona. Filippo Lippi’s Annun- 
ciation removed to Oliveto. 

Damage to roof and windows by shellfire 
(seven direct hits); 150 sq. meters of 
roof reset and 35 sq. meters of windows 
to repair. Roof repairs completed in Oc- 
tober 1944, and windows in June 1945. 

S. Maria sopr a Porta 
Roof heavily damaged by explosions, many 
beams broken. Roof repairs completed 
June 1945. 

S. Michele 

Romanesque church with Cinquecento in- 
terior. Works of art intact. 

Roof damaged by shells. About ten per 
cent of the roofing material had to be re- 

S. Miniato al Monte 

Romanesque church of first importance 
with Romanesque sculptural decoration, 
frescoes by Spinello, Aredno and others, 
and chapel with sculpture by Antonio 
Rossellino and Luca della Robbia and 
paindngs by Baldovinetti and Piero del 
Pollaiuolo, Escaped damage to works of 
art although shells landed around building 
for more than three weeks. 

Considerable roof damage; too sq. meters 
to reset and some windows to repair. All 
repairs completed. 


Church rebuilt in seventeenth century. 
Frescoes of Ghirlandaio, Botticelli, and 
Giovanni da San Giovanni intact. 

Damage to windows of chapter house 
threatening Ghirlandaio’s Last Supper. 
Repaired in December 1944. 


Minor roof and window repairs; completed 
January 1945. Gothic building of first 
importance. All works of art intact. 
Bronzes by Verrocchio, Ghiberti, Nanni 
di Banco, Lamberti, Giambologna, and 
marble by Donatello now cleaned, re- 
paired, and replaced in their niches. 

Huge tabernacle of Orcagna was well pro- 
tected by construction of sand bags and 

S. Spirito 

Renaissance church by Brunelleschi and 
others, of first importance. 

Roof pierced by shellfire in several places; 
tiles shaken and disarranged; 60 sq. meters 
replaced and 300 sq. meters reset. Com- 
pleted end of October 1944. All works 
of art intact (many removed to deposits). 

S. Stefano al Ponte 

Fine facade, part Romanesque, part 
Gothic. Impressive interior reconstructed 
in seventeenth century by Pietro Tacca. 
Works of art, of secondary importance, 
damaged by explosions. Building heavily 
damaged by German mines. Roof tiles 
blown off completely and beams greatly 
weakened. Facade so weakened and 

{ 125 } 


cracked that it had to be demolished piece 
by piece for more than half its height, 
numbering the stones. Fagade now com- 
pletely rebuilt with original stones under 
AMG. Roofing now completed. 

S. Trinita 

Splendid Gothic church with Mannerist 
facade by Buontalenti and two chapels 
with frescoes of first importance by Lo- 
renzo Monaco and Ghirlandaio. 

Several holes in roof from flying fragments 
of destroyed area. Tracery of great apse 
windows severely damaged by explosion. 
All windows gone throughout church. 
Frescoes in first and second chapel on 
left heavily shaken. Some holes in outer 
walls. Ghirlandaio and Lorenzo Monaco 
frescoes undamaged behind protections of 
brick; all other works of art intact. 
Church largely reroofed, apse window 
tracery dismantled, masonry repaired, 
frescoes consolidated; all repairs com- 
pleted under amg. 

Fountain of Neptune 

Colossal fountain by Bartolommeo Am- 

manati and others. 

Minor repairs to damage caused by mines 
in the fountain. Minor repairs to bronze 
statues, all intact. 

Loggia del Bigallo 

Exquisite little Gothic loggia. All movable 
works of art evacuated and safe. 

Roof damaged by three direct shell hits. 
Shell also hit portal by Alberto Arnoldi. 
carrying away the head of the Madonna. 
Flead slightly damaged, not yet reattached. 
All roof repairs completed in October, 
1944 - 

Palazzo Acciaioli 

Rich Cinquecento Lungarno front of pal- 
ace and all the rooms behind totalfi de- 
stroyed. Small section remaining in Borgo 
SS. .A.postoli contains the frescoed room 
bv Poccctti. very badly damaged. One wall 
has come down entirely, and portions of 
the others are mutilated. Standing section 
of palace has been reinforced with spurs 
of brick and rerooted. First aid measures 

have been taken to keep remaining fres- 
coes from collapse (Figs. 7-10). 

Palazzi Barbadori and Rossi 
Impressive thirteenth century houses in 
Via Guicciardini. 

Facades heavily damaged and out of 
plumb, main buildings completely de- 
molished. Stonew'ork and beams were sal- 
vaged and some work of consolidation 
done. Owmer of Palazzo Barbadori has 
since rebuilt interior. All of facade of 
Palazzo dei Rossi has had to be demol- 

Palazzo Nonfinito 

By Buontalenti, Cigoli, Sand di Tito, 
Caccini, and Nigetti. 

Minor damage to masonry; repaired May 

1945 - 

Palazzo di Parte Guelfa 
Majestic structure by Brunelleschi. 

Roof almost completely destroyed, in- 
cluding beams. Ceiling by Vasari heavily 
damaged, walls inside and out badly 
cracked, as well as the vaulting of several 
rooms. Loggetta by Vasari heavily dam- 
aged. Masonry has been repaired, walls 
raised to complete the oculi, and a com- 
pletely new timber roof has been built and 
covered with tiles; ceiling completely re- 

Palazzo Pitti 

Considerable damage to roofs, and win- 
dows by shellfire and explosions. No struc- 
tural damage: all damage repaired. 

Palazzo Vecchio 

Root above Salone del Cinquecento re- 
ceived several shell hits, and windows 
throughout the building smashed. Roof 
repairs completed. Leaded glass restored 
in Quartiere Monumentale which con- 
tains frescoes by Ghirlandaio, Bronzino, 
\ asari, Salviati. and others. Frescoes and 
ceiling paintings undamaged. Ceiling 
paintings in Salone del Cinquecento re- 
placed after departure of amg. 

Ponte S. Trinita 

By Bartolommeo Ammanati with criticism 
from Michelangelo; statues of Spring by 

{ 126 } 

SAN 1-E-ON>^R1>o 


Sketch map showing prob- 
able routes followed by 
German convoys transport- 
ing Florentine works of art 
from repositories at Poggio 
a Caiano, Montagnana, and 
Oliveto to Marano, and 
from Poppi, Soci, and Dico- 
mano to Forli. Both groups 
went successively to Bolo- 
gna, Bolzano, and the de- 
posits at San Leonardo and 
Campo Tures. The return 
route by rail under the care 
of Fifth Army is also indi- 

•) ■FOPUI 

PoiSO ^ 



Map 1. Tuscanv 

Map 2. German conAov routes 


Capital letters indicate provincial capitals, as FLORENCE; italics indicate major 
artistic centers and repositories of first importance, as Poggio a Caiano. 

I. Pontremoli 

56. Mensanello 

III. 'Monte S. Savino 

2. Villafranca in Lunigiana 

57. Casole d’Elsa 

1 12. AREZZO 

3. Aulla 

58. Badia a Isola 

113. Monterchi 

4. Fosdmovo 

59. Staggia 

1 14. Sansepolcro 

5. Carrara 

60. Certaldo 

1 15. Pieve S. Stefano 


61. Poppiano 

116. La Verna 

7. Seravezza 

62. Montegufoni 

1 17. Badia Tedalda 

8. Pietrasanta 

63. OUveto 

1 1 8. Sestino 

9. Fivizzano 

64. Montagnana 

1 19. Anghiari 

10. Camaiore 

65. Montelupo 

120. Castighon Fiorentino 


66. Lastra a Signa 

1 21. Cortona 

12. PISA 

67. Artimino 

122. Sinalunga 

13. Diecimo 

68. Brozzi 

123. Torrita 

14. S. Cassiano 

69. Sesto 

124. Montefollonico 

15. Barga 

70. Quarto 

125. 'Monte pulciano 

16. Castelnuovo in Garfagnana 

71. Careggi 

126. Chianciano 

17. Castiglione in Garfagnana 

72. Pratohno 

1 27. Chiusi 

18. Camporgiano 

73. Badia a Settimo 

128. Monticchiello 

19. Vagli Sotto 

74. Ponte a Grevc 

129. Pienza 

20. Gallicano 

75. S. Martino alia Palma 

130. S. Quirico d'Orcia 

21. Certosa di Farneta 

76. Certosa di Galttzzo 

1 31. Castiglione d’Orcia 

22. Villa Ford 

77. S. Casciano 

132. Montalcmo 

23. Villabasilica 

78. Impruneta 

133. 5 . Antimo 

24. S. Gennaro 

79. SIENA 

134. Buoncon\cnto 

25. Camigliano 

80. Ruballa 

135. Gastello di Bclcaro 

26. Saltocchio 

81. Antella 

136. Lecceto 

27. Segromigno 

82. Torre a Cona 

137. Torri 

28. Peseta 

83. Fie sole 

138. Mensano 

29. Collodi 

84. Cafaggiolo 

139. Montidano 

30. Moncecatini 

85. Borgo S. Lorenzo 

140. Corsano 

31. Monsummano 

86. Scarperia 

1 41. Lucignano 

32. Altopascio 

87. Barberino 

142. Piombino 

33. La Gattaiola 

88. Dicomano 

143. Massa Marittima 

34. S. Maria del Giudice 

89. S. Godenzo 

144. Radicofani 

35. Pugnano 

90. Rosano 

145. Abbadia S. Sahatore 

36. Cascina 

91. V’allombrosa 

146. .\rcidosso 

37. Vicopisano 

92. Cascia di Reggello 

147. S. Flora 

38. Certosa di Cold 

93. Borgo alia Collina 

148. So\ana 


94. Poppi 

149. Pitigliano 

40. Faugha 

95. Pratovecchio 

150. Montemerano 

41. Lari 

96. Stia 

151. Saturnia 

42. Varramista 

97. Certomondo 

152. Maghano in Toscana 

43. 5 . Miniaio 

98. Soci 

153. Ruins of S. Robono 

44. Vollerra 

99. Camaldoli 



100. Romena 

155. Ruins of Roselle 

46. S. Baronto 

10 1. Bibbicna 

156. Orbetello 

47. Empoli 

102. Torre del Ca>teIiano 


48. Castelhorento 

103. Figlinc 

158. S. Maria a Monte 

49. S. Maria in Chianni 

104. S. Giovanni Valdarno 


50. S. Gimignano 

105. Terranuova Bracciolini 


51, Villa Barone 

106. Montcvarchi 

1 61. PERUGIA 

52. Prato 

107. Montemardan' » 

162. Orneto 

53. Poggio a Caiano 

108. Gropina 

163. MTERBO 

54. Poggibonsi 

109. Arceno 

164. Brancoli 

55. Colie di Vaideisa 

no. Civitella della Chiana 

165. Monte Oli\eto Maggiore 


Pietro Francavilla, Summer and Autumn 
by Giovanni Caccini, and Winter by 
Taddeo Landini. 

See text, pp. 56-57. All three arches of the 
bridge were totally destroyed. Nothing re- 
mained but the two piers and part of the 
abutments, which were heavily damaged 
at the top, but well preserved below. Both 
piers were heavily damaged, especially at 
the top, but the south pier more so than 
the north. All four statues with their ped- 
estals were smashed into hundreds of 
pieces, and considerable sections of these 
fell into the river. 

Any salvage operations were compli- 
cated by the absolute necessity of con- 
structing and maintaining over the 
wreckage a Bailey bridge, which remained 
for weeks the sole method by which 
wheeled vehicles could cross from the 
northern to the southern part of the city, 
and for many months thereafter the only 
bridge for civilian vehicles. In spite of 
these difficulties and of the security prob- 
lem involved in the fact that the front 
was still located in the outskirts of the 
city, salvage operations were started under 
direction of the sculptor Giannetto Man- 
nucci, only a few days after the liberation 
of the center of Florence. 

Small fragments which might be destroyed 
by engineering troops building the Bailey 
were the first to be removed to safety. 
Large sections of the figures of Spring, 
Summer, and Winter were found on the 
Lungarni, and since it was not possible 
to traverse the bridge, were carried in 
handcarts and barrows to both the Uffizi 
and the Pitti. It was necessary to dive for 
the other pieces. The only important piece 
still missing from the group is the head of 

By October the flooded Arno threatened 
to corrode and carry away what remained 
of the piers. Under the direction of the 
architect Riccardo Gizdulich, the stone- 
work still standing was dismounted piece 
by piece, numbering the pieces, and 
measured drawings and twenty-one plas- 
ter casts were made of all remaining frag- 

ments. Complete elevations of the bridge 
were executed, based on fifty-seven photo- 
graphs of various sizes, all taken before 
the destruction, and on the studies of 
Ferroni, Vulliamy, and Parigi. Recon- 
struction of the statues, also on the basis 
of photographs, was undertaken by Man- 
nucci. All four figures are now complete 
save for the missing head of Spring. Even- 
tually, if the Florentines wish, it should 
be possible to reconstruct a bridge practi- 
cally indistinguishable from the destroyed 
masterpiece, with all its decorative ele- 
ments complete. 

Torre degli Amidei 

Huge thirteenth century tower, one of the 
most important of all, situated in the very 
center of the destroyed area. 

See text, p. 55. The north wall, part of 
the west wall, and almost all of the east 
wall had completely collapsed, leaving the 
south wall in highly fractured state, 
riddled with cracks. 

The south wall was first strutted with 
enormous beams w’hich had been aban- 
doned by the military. In spite of adverse 
counsel of engineering authorities, rubble 
was cleared from below and all ancient 
blocks of stone sorted out. One of the 
great lion heads emerged intact. A con- 
crete foundation was laid, the masonry of 
the south wall reworked, and the remain- 
ing walls rebuilt in rough brick. The en- 
tire facade has now been faced with the 
old stone, the lions and other decorative 
elements replaced, and a roof over the 
tower is complete (Figs. 11-14). 

Torre dei Baldovinetti 
Thirteenth century tower, one of few re- 
maining to full original height. 

Roof completely destroyed and walls dam- 
aged by mines. Reroofing and consolida- 
tion completed by the end of March 1945. 

Torre dei Carducci 

Fine thirteenth century tow'er. 

Roof completely destroyed and heavy dam- 
age to adjacent structures by mines. Re- 

{ 127 } 


roofing and demolition of threatened 
structures completed in April 1945. 

Torre del Mannelli 

Thirteenth century tower, key structure 
for south end of Ponte Vecchio (Fig. 6). 
Roof entirely removed by explosion. Re- 
built by July I, 1945. Repairs to shattered 
portion of Vasari’s corridor, here con- 
nected to tower, consisted only of con- 
solidating still standing consoles, and 
covering them with roof tiles. 

Uffizi Gallery 

See text, pp. 46-47. Gallery severely dam- 
aged throughout by explosions. Roof tiles 
largely smashed and disarranged, and al- 
most all glass windows and skylights shat- 
tered. Many sections of decorative frescoes 
badly damaged; large sections of Allori 
frescoes in early part of gallery have fallen, 
and sixteenth and seventeenth century 
decorative frescoes in corridors damaged. 
Roofing of gallery complete. Skylights 
complete in first five galleries under amg. 
Remaining skylights restored by Italian 
Government. Restoration and consolida- 
tion of decorative frescoes almost com- 
plete by departure of amg. First section of 
gallery reopened to public in November 


Vffizi-PiUi Corridor 

Roof damaged throughout, corridor filled 
with wreckage, arch to Torre di Parte 
Guelfa and continuation destroyed to 
south edge of devastated area: angle at 
north entrance to Ponte Vecchio severely 
damaged. Wreckage has been cleared, cor- 
ridor reroofed; angle at Ponte Vecchio has 
been rebuilt, and remaining portions 
around Torre dei Mannelli covered with a 
temporary roof. 

FIRENZUOLA (Florence) 


Important fourteenth century structure al- 
most destroyed by .\.merican air action. 
Completely reconstructed by Italian Gov- 


Fortino Mediceo 
Cinquecento fort. 

Shell damage to roof and walls. 

FOSDINOVO (Apuania) 

55 . Annunziata 

Late Renaissance church. 

Considerable damage to roof and interior. 

5 . Remigio 

Church lined with rich Baroque altars in 
marble. Fine Gothic tomb of Galeotto Mal- 
aspina, 1367. 

Heavy damage to roof, vaults, campanile. 
Repairs completed by Italian Government 
with funds furnished by ,amg. 

GALLUZZO (Florence) 


Numerous shell hits on roof of church, 
convent, and cloisters, including above the 
frescoes of Pontormo. Slight damage to 
frescoes; 200 sq. meters of roof to replace 
and 300 to reset. All roof damage has been 
repaired. Damage to campanile still to be 

GAVILLE (Florence) 


Fine early Romanesque church belonging 
to group of eight erected in the province 
during time of Countess Matilda. 
Damaged by shellfire and by weather. Re- 
paired only after departure of amg. 

GIOGOLI (Florence) 

5 . Alessandro 

Twelfth century Romanesque church. 
Shell damage to roof and campanile. Al- 
most entire church roof and vault below 
had to be demolished and reconstructed. 
Damage repaired. 

I Collazzi 

One of the three or four finest villas in 
the environs of Florence. Splendid arcades 
by Sand di Tito. 

Heavily shelled on both south and north 
facades. Roofs devastated, portion of ar- 
cade destroyed. All repairs undertaken by 
proprietor, and completed. 

{ 128 } 


GROPINA (Arezzo) 


Splendid early Romanesque church, same 
group as Gaville, Stia, Strada, Romena, etc. 
Shell damage to exterior loggia around 
apse. Repaired after departure of amg. 

IMPRUNETA (Florence) 

S. Maria dell’ Impruneta 
See text, pp. 57-61. Devastated by heavy 
caliber bombs. Roof almost entirely de- 
stroyed. Baroque gilded wood ceding 
blown to bits, beams which remained 
were ready to fall. Right wall leaned per- 
ilously outward. Triumphal arch and 
apse utterly destroyed. Wreckage piled ten 
to fifteen feet high throughout church. 
Tabernacles by Michelozzo badly wrecked, 
with plaster frieze by Michelozzo totally 
destroyed. Luca della Robbia altarpieces 
and ceilings inside tabernacles blown to 
small pieces save for large section which 
still adhered to the wall. In August ap- 
peared beyond repair (Figs. 15-21). 

Tons of rubble were sifted three separate 
times to disgorge all tiniest fragments of 
works of art. Apse now reconstructed in 
rough masonry up to the eaves, and re- 
roofed. Right nave wall has been com- 
pletely demolished and rebuilt up to the 
eaves, while the roof beams were supported 
on scaffolding. 

A reinforced concrete collar has been 
built along the whole top of the right 
nave wall in order to consolidate it prop- 
erly, and unite it to the apse. A reinforced 
concrete beam has been built to solidify 
the joining of the nave, sacristy, and 
apse below floor level. 

Left nave wall developed alarming cracks 
near facade and was dismantled at that 
point and reconstructed; roof beams shored 
at that point. 

Rococo ceiling of small choir of the Ma- 
donna fell entirely, disclosing conoids of 
fine fourteenth century Gothic vaults 
underneath. This structure, to the left of 
the nave, together with the left sacristy, 
containing a fine Renaissance armadio. was 
reroofed at once, and the vaulting has now 
been rebuilt by the Italian Government. 

The fragments of the majestic tabernacles 
by Michelozzo have been pieced together. 
The church, which seemed a hopeless 
wreck in August was not only out of all 
danger by the time amg left but was al- 
ready half reroofed with tiles. While the 
Baroque ceiling is beyond hope, the rest 
of the church will possibly be more inter- 
esting than before. The roof w^as com- 
pleted during the fall of 1945, and the 
church reconsecrated for the festival of the 
Madonna dell’ Impruneta in 1946. 

WORKS OF art: Two tabernacles by Luca 
della Robbia blown to bits by high ex- 
plosives. Hundreds of pieces carefully put 
together again; work of recomposition 
nearly complete. Two temples by Miche- 
lozzo collapsed by high explosive, and now 
recomposed. Polyptych by Tommaso del 
Mazza and Pietro Nelli blown to bits by 
high explosive and buried under tons of 
rubble. All fragments have been sifted 
from rubble and carried to the Uffizi. Large 
decorative paintings and altarpieces in 
basilica damaged by explosives and rain; 
detached at once and taken to safety. All 
panel pictures from the sacristy have been 
taken to safety. Renaissance choir stalls 
badly damaged by rubble under wreckage 
of destroyed apse, now' restored. 

LASTRA A SIGNA (Florence) 

5 . Martino a Gangalandi 
Church of w'hich Leon Battista Alberti was 
prior. Fine apse by Alberti. Important tab- 
ernacle frescoed inside and out by Bicci di 
Lorenzo, all intact. 

Slight shell damage to roof of the portico. 
Torre di Baccio 

This mediaeval city gate was unroofed and 
heavily cracked by bombs. Completely re- 
paired May 1945, after repeated inter- 
vention by MFAA office. 

L.A. VERX.\ (Arezzo) 

Franciscan Convent 

See text, pp. 90-91. Under shellfire for ten 
days; roofs smashed in various parts, .\bout 
fitteen per cent to reconstruct, and seventy 
per cent new material needed. Half of 
portico destroyed. 

{ 129 } 


Portico reconstructed by Italian Govern- 
ment. Reliefs by Andrea della Robbia in- 
tact. Relief of Pieta by Giovanni della 
Robbia smashed by direct shell hit; frag- 
ments salvaged. 

LIVORNO (Livorno) 


Baroque church largely by Giovanni del 
Fantasia. Portico attributed to Inigo Jones. 
Rich interior decoration. 

About seventy per cent destroyed. Huge 
gap in facade of right transept. Transept 
wall re-erected and some rubble removed. 
Further salvage work awaits financing of 

Although the great gilded ceiling is totally 
destroyed, the ceiling paintings by Jacopo 
Logozzi were all removed by the superin- 
tendent before the bombings and are safe 
in Calci. 

Sma. Annunziata del Greet 
Sumptuous Baroque church with large sev- 
enteenth century Greek iconostasis. 

Half destroyed. Sculptured facade and rear 
half of church remain standing, in 
dangerous condition. Movable parts of 
iconostasis have been dismounted, only 
after theft of several of the panels, part of 
which were recovered by office. At 

the departure of AXte the rest of the work 
awaited financing of projects. Missing por- 
tions of structure now completed by 
Italian Government. 

5 . Caterina del Domenicanl 
Large octagonal church by Giovanni del 
Fantasia. Only church in Livorno which 
was still usable. 

Minor damage to roof and doors. 

S. T erdinando 

Splendid late Baroque church by Giovanni 
Battista Foggini, with rich marble sculjv 
tures by Giovanni Baratta. 

Explosion of bomb against south aisle of 
church blew in almost two-thirds of south 
wall, up to the crossing pier, which with- 
stood miraculously. All sculpture by Ba- 
ratta saved in advance by superintendent. 
Vaulting badly cracked and roof tiles 
shattered (Figs. 42-43). 

Destroyed wall and lateral chapel com- 
pletely reconstructed in rough masonry, 
incorporating fallen architectural frag- 
ments. When plastered, and sculpture re- 
installed, repairs will not be detectible. 

5 . Giovanni Battista 
Early Baroque church. 

Structural lesions by near miss resulted in 
collapse of apse just missing splendid 
Baroque high altar and baldachin by 
Ferdinando Tacca. Apse has been re- 
constructed and roof largely repaired. 

S. Giulia 

Small church with rich, early Baroque 
painted and gilded interior. Giottesque 
panels of Uje of S. Giulia removed to 
safety by superintendent. Splendid altar- 
piece by Matteo Rosselli totally destroyed 
by vandals after liberation of city. 

Roof damaged almost throughout; big 
holes in two side walls. Ceiling and in- 
terior decorations threatened. Repairs 
completed April 25, 1945. 

S. Giuseppe 

Early nineteenth century neoclassic church. 
Roof destroyed completely, damage to 

S. Gregorio degli Armeni 
Sumptuous late Baroque church with rich 
marble sculpture and architectural dec- 

Devastated by direct hit, which destroyed 
the cupola and all the altarpieces, filling 
church with rubble. Rubble has been 
removed, and statues and architectural 
fragments saved. 

Church of the Madonna, and Convent 
Roof seventy per cent damaged. Big hole 
in wall of convent. Damage to vaulted 
ceilings. Removal of rubble and saving of 
artistic fragments. Library sacked by van- 
dals. Roof repaired by Italian Government. 


One of the most important in Europe. 
Splendid late Renaissance building, 
erected by Ferdinand I. 

Devastated by direct bomb hits; roof com- 

{ no } 


pletely collapsed. One side of gallery has 
collapsed. Rubble removed. All major work 
still to commence. Silver treasure stolen 
by vandals. Manuscripts intact. 

Palazzotto del Comune 
Late Baroque palace. 

Heavy damage to the part facing sea, 
various ceilings collapsed, roof partly col- 
lapsed; seventy per cent to be redone. 

Bastione Mediceo 
Cinquecento fortress. 

Considerably damaged in central part. 
Roof hit by shells, about ninety per cent 
to rebuild. Big holes in walls. 

Palazzo Granducale 
Seventeenth century Baroque palace. 
Heavily damaged by bombs. Ninety per 
cent of roof to be redone. Damage to 
southwest wall and interior. 

Palazzo del Monte di Pieta 
Fine, late Baroque palace. 

Hit by bombs, roof and walls heavily dam- 

Palazzo Pretoria 
Seventeenth century. 

Partly demolished through bombardments. 
Reconstruction of three rooms at ground, 
first, and second floor. 

LOPPIA (Lucca) 


Romanesque church, with Baroque ci- 

Shell damage to fagade. 

LUCCA (Lucca) 


Splendid Romanesque and Gothic church 
of first importance. German 280 mm. shell 
pierced roof of north aisle, exploding 
direcdy above the chapel of the Volto 
Santo, by Matteo Civitali, causing consider- 
able damage to the marble lantern, but not 
hurting the Volto Santo itself. Fragments 
flew all over church, scarring several altar- 
pieces of minor interest and damaging 
badly the fine Cinquecento gilded and 
painted organ panels. One entire bay of 

aisle vaulting had to be reconstructed. Ex- 
terior sculpture and ornament intact. 

MASSA (Apuania) 


Gothic, much restored and rebuilt. 
Heavily damaged by shellfire. Works of 
art intact. 

Palazzo Ducale 
Splendid Baroque palace. 

Palace devastated by concentrated shell- 
fire. Interiors badly wrecked, roof almost 
blown off, walls and floors inside de- 
molished, architectural decorations on 
enormous facade damaged in innumerable 
places. Repairs executed with funds ad- 
ministered by AMG. 

Castello Malaspina 
Imposing Gothic casde. 

Heavily damaged by condnued shellfire. 

MEZZAVIA (Arezzo) 

S. Maria degli Angeli 
Sixteenth century octagonal church mined 
and utterly destroyed by Germans, save 
for small secdon of wall. All rubble re- 
moved, architectural fragments sorted out 
and remaining wall consolidated by April 
30, 1945. Now half reconstructed by Italian 


S. Andrea A postal o 
Fourteenth century Gothic church. 
Damage to roof and vaults. 

MONTELUPO (Florence) 

5 . Lorenzo {Piet/e Alto) 

Large shell holes in masonry of campanile, 
causing severe damage to precious thir- 
teenth century frescoes by Corso da 
Firenze. Roof of church completely gone 
for many decades. Fresco repairs com- 
menced under amg. Church now reroofed 
by Italian Government, and tabernacles 



Cinquecento structure in spectacular posi- 

{ 131 } 


Two hundred sq. meters of damaged roof. 
Repairs completed May 1945. 

NOVOLI (Florence) 

S. Cristoforo 

Roof tiles displaced by explosion. Repair 
completed April 1945. 

PALAIA (Pisa) 


Trecento Gothic church in brick, much re- 

Hit by shells, roof heavily damaged, shell 
damage to walls, repaired by Italian Gov- 

PASSIGNANO (Florence) 

S. Michele 

Church rebuilt by Passignano. Frescoes by 
Passignano and others, and in refectory 
Last Supper by Domenico and Davide 
Ghirlandaio (1476); all intact. 

Shell damage to roof; thirty per cent to re- 
construct, fifty per cent to reset; most 
urgent work completed June 15, 1945. 

PI AN DI MUG-NONE (Florence) 

La Maddalena 

Quattrocento church by Michelozzo, with 
works of art by Fra Bartolommeo and 
others, all intact. 

Shell holes in roof; ten per cent to re- 
construct, fifty per cent to reset. Column 
knocked down by truck, with danger to 
vault of portico. Roof repaired, portico 
shored; column replaced. 

PIETR.\S.-\NTA (Lucca) 


Gothic, with splendid facade. Fine Ren- 
aissance furniture largely by Stagio Stagi 
and Lorenzo Stagi, all intact. 

Roof vaults and apse and campanile 
heavily damaged by shellfire; work com- 
pleted bv Italian Government through 
funds provided by amc. 


Baroque building, attached to cathedral. 
Damage to roof and facade. 

S. Agosttno 

Fine Quattrocento Gothic facade. 
Considerable damage to root, altar, pave- 

ment, marble confessional, facade, cam- 
panile, and Sacrato. Repaired by Italian 

PIENZA (Siena) 


Superb Gothic and Renaissance church by 
Bernardo Rossellino, centerpiece of the 
Quattrocento town. 

Church shelled so long by French artillery 
that it is a miracle it is not more damaged. 
Numerous shell holes in roof, vaulting, 
and window tracery; almost entire roof to 
replace. Shell damage to campanile. 
MFAA office provided for roof repairs, but 
Bishop and Count Piccolomini raised 
money for all other repairs, including 
tracery, decorations, etc. 

Except for a few of the nave windows, still 
walled up, the cathedral is now in ab- 
solutely perfect condition, as if nothing 
had ever happened to it. All the altar- 
pieces by Giovanni di Paolo, Vecchietta, 
Sano di Pietro, Matteo di Giovanni, and 
Rossellino, are back in their places, and 
the only damage was the shell fragment 
that struck the Vecchietta. All works from 
rich diocesan museum intact. 



Splendid thirteenth century Romanesque 

Campanile completely destroyed by mines. 

PIEVE A RIPOLI (Florence) 

5 . Pietro 

Early Romanesque church. Works of art 

Damage not only to tiles but also to roof 
timbers. Roof damage completely repaired. 


S. Francesco 

See text, pp. 91-93. LTinteresting church 
badly wrecked by German mines. Della 
Robbia school relief still filled apse of 
church. Tottering vault was shored by citi- 
zens of destroyed town until great altar- 
piece could be dismantled piece by piece. Re- 
lief now in place in undamaged Collegiata. 

{ 132 } 


Palazzo Communde 

Building thirty per cent destroyed by Ger- 
man mines. Standing facade covered with 
Della Robbia coats-of-arms had started to 
buckle. Before demolition all reliefs were 
rescued, and all pieces rescued from ad- 
jacent rubble. Recomposition completed. 

PIOMBINO (Livorno) 


Sixteenth century fort. 

Heavily damaged by bombs. 

PISA (Pisa) 


Grandiose Romanesque basilica of first 

Shell damage to lead roof. Completely re- 
paired in September 1944. All works of 
art intact. 

S. A gala 

Unimportant mediaeval church. 

Outside wall of cloister partially collapsed. 
Removal of rubble. 

S. Antonio 

Fine marble facade, lower story Gothic, 
upper Cinquecento. 

Roof of church completely collapsed, to- 
gether with south wall. Cloister partly 
destroyed. Entrances to church closed, rub- 
ble removed. 

S. Bernardino 

Heavily damaged modern church was be- 
yond repair, so was demolished to free the 
tiny Romanesque round church; holes 
in walls still to be patched. 

S. Biagio in Cisanello 
Small brick Gothic church. 

Roof largely collapsed. Repairs to outside 
walls completed May 20. 1945. 

Campo Santo 

See detailed account in text, pp. 80-87, and 

figs- 32-33-^ 

The first-aid work was done by the end of 
October. The temporary roof was built 
and temporary consolidadon of frescoes 
completed, lead and rubble cleared up, 
fresco fragments gathered for repair, and 
sculptures restored. But the vast under- 

taking of providing a new roof for the 
building and performing the intricate 
restoration job for frescoes has been as- 
sumed by the Italian Government. The 
frescoes have now been detached from the 
walls at the expense of the American 
Commission for Italian Monuments, with 
remarkable discoveries of sinopia draw- 
ings of excellent quality underneath the 


Mediaeval church rebuilt in seventeenth 

Shell damage to roof; sixty per cent to 
replace. Complete collapse of east wall of 
cloister. Roof completely repaired and re- 
taining wall built for cloister April 21, 


5 . Caterina 

Important Pisan Gothic church, with rich 
marble faijade. All works of art intact. 
Shell hole in roof; windows broken almost 
throughout. Roof damage repaired. 

S. Cecilia 

Small Romanesque church in brick. 

Left wall collapsed almost completely, 
bringing down greater part of roof. Rub- 
ble cleared, fragments salvaged, left wall 
rebuilt, campanile shored, roof rebuilt over 
facade. Roof over high altar remains to be 
rebuilt. Reconstruction of rest will depend 
on Italian Government. 

SS. Cosimo e Damiano 
Unimportant church totally destroyed by 
bomb. Marble altars excavated and taken 
to safety'. 

S. Cristina 

Twelfth century church, much rebuilt. 
Roof heavily damaged by shellfire; eighty 
per cent of surface to reconstruct. Deep 
cracks in vaulting. .Ml damage repaired 
by April ii, 1945. 

5 . Croce in Fossabanda 
Fourteenth century Gothic church. 

Shell damage to roof, and to campanile, 
completely repaired. Unfinanced project 
provides for repairs to portico. 

{ 133 } 


S. Domenico 

Charming Rococo church. 

Direct bomb hits destroyed completely the 
right nave wall with all its exquisite 
eighteenth century stuccoes; the vaulting 
collapsed without a trace, and the roof on 
top of it. Roof beams badly damaged and 
all tiles lost. Right wall now completely 
reconstructed in brick, new roof with 
largely new timber and completely new 
tiles. Out of danger. At a later time it will 
be necessary to reconstruct the vaulting 
and the stuccoes. All altars were dis- 
manded, and the pictures were removed 
to safety before the bombardment. Fresco 
by Benozzo Gozzoli in adjoining convent 
is intact. 

S. Ermete 

Small Gothic church. 

Shell damage to roof; sixty per cent to be 
reconstructed. Large hole in facade. Dam- 
age to masonry of church and campanile. 
All damage repaired by June 13, 1945. 

S. Francesco 

Important Gothic church with fine marble 

Shell hole in roof. Many broken windows. 
Roof repairs completed. Considerable sum 
was necessary to repair damage caused 
by Agrarian Federation who used church 
as a granary, with permission of .Arch- 
bishop of Pisa. 

S. Francesco, Chapter House 
Shell hit on roof. Flood of November i, 
1944, filled room with mud, and mud was 
sucked up into the space between inner 
and outer walls, threatening the .Agnolo 
Gaddi frescoes with destruction by damp- 
ness. Shell hole fi.xed, mud drained, and 
frescoes dried out with wood-stoves. 

S. Frediano 

Important Pisan Romanesque church, 
with marble facade and impressive in- 
terior arcades. All works of art intact. 
Roof of church and campanile hit by 
shells in several places, endangering vault- 
ing of interior. .All damage repaired June 

F 1945- 

S. Giovanni al Gatano 
Roof of unimportant church totally de- 
stroyed; heavy damage to interior. Bronze 
bells salvaged; structure abandoned. 

S. Giovanni Spazzavento 

Frescoes by Domenico Tempesta badly 


Church half demolished. Rest of church 
was cleared of rubble and walled up. 

Madonna dei Galletti 

Small but very beautiful early Baroque 


Shell pierced roof and also splendid carved 
wooden ceiling of the seventeenth century, 
by Vignali, with reliefs of Passion and 
paintings of symbolism of the cross. All 
damage repaired. Paintings dismounted, 
restored, and replaced. 

S. Maria Maddalena 
Eighteenth century church by Vacca. 
Church half destroyed. Beams, building 
materials, and altars have been salvaged. 

S. Maria della Spina 
Gothic Jewel of first importance. 
Damaged by near miss of heavy caliber 
bomb. Fragments of fallen pinnacle have 
all been collected and put together again; 
all damage to lead roof has been repaired. 
Repairs of minor damage to marble 
blocks and decoration of south flank. 
Statues ready to be replaced at close of 
exhibition of Pisan sculpture (Fig. 34). 

S. Martino 

Trecento church. Works of art intact. 

Roof damaged by shells, forty per cent of 
the surface to be reconstructed. Roof re- 
pairs completed save over lateral portal. 

S. Matteo and Convent 

Half Romanesque, half Baroque, both of 

high quality. 

Heatily damaged by explosion of bombs 
on Chiesa delle Monache behind apse of 
main church, demolishing the vaulting 
with its frescoes by Boscoli, leaving the 
Boscoli lunettes e.xposed to the weather, 
heavily da.maging the retrochoir and shat- 
tering all the roof tiles of the main church. 
M ater seeped through and caused 

{ B4 } 



siderable damage to important Baroque 
ceiling frescoes by Francesco and Giu- 
seppe Melani. Convent largely unroofed, 
and architecture itself endangered. 

Roof of main church was quickly remade 
into a small projecting roof to save the 
Melani frescoes from further damage. Re- 
pairs to the convent completed; those to 
the retrochoir, to be incorporated in the 
new home of the Museo Civico of Pisa, 
still under way. 

5 . Michele in Borgo 

Splendid Gothic edifice with superb ar- 
caded marble facade. 

Left wall and left nave arcade completely 
demolished. Roof totally collapsed. The 
Gothic fagade luckily intact. All rubble has 
been cleared, beams and architectural 
fragments, columns and capitals salvaged, 
and small roof rebuilt over what remains 
of organ and over apse. Left aisle will 
have to be rebuilt entirely to close the 
church. Work suspended for lack of 
funds at the departure of amg, but now 
resumed by the Italian Government and 
well advanced. 

5 . Michele in Oratorio 
Unimportant mediaeval church. 

Roof damaged by shellfire, sixty per cent 
to replace. Damage to walls and campa- 
nile. All damage repaired April 26, 1945. 

S. Michele degli Sccdzi 

Splendid Romanesque church. Facade and 

sculpture intact. 

Heavy damage to church and campanile 
through forty days of shellfire. Roof blown 
away almost entirely, vaulting fell, few 
existing roof timbers can be reused. Many 
holes in walls, campanile so riddled with 
shell holes that it was ready to fall. Cam- 
panile now completely repaired. Repairs to 
church held up through lack of funds 
(Figs. 30-31). 

S. Nicola 

Fine Pisan Romanesque facade. 

Two holes in roof, and heavy crack in 
facade. Facade repaired, but work on roof 
held up through lack of funds. Resumed 
by Italian Government. 

S. Paolo air Orto 

Fine Pisan Romanesque church. 

Shell holes in roof. All work completed 
April 1945. 

S. Paolo a Ripa d’ Arno 
Superb Romanesque church, the most im- 
portant in Pisa after the cathedral. 

Several bomb hits on nave, collapse of 
large section of nave roof and third col- 
umn of right aisle. All remaining roof 
tiles stolen by population. Roof beams 
damaged by weather. 

Fallen column replaced by timber shoring 
before arrival of Allies. Under mfaa roof 
reconstructed by replacing damaged tim- 
bers and covering with under-layer of ter- 
ra cotta panels. Roofing completed by Ital- 
ian Government. Second arch on right 
dismounted and rebuilt, with wall above 
it, and roof timbers placed (Figs. 36-37). 

S. Piero a Grado 

Romanesque campanile, one of the finest 
in Italy, blown up by Germans. Explo- 
sion destroyed adjacent corner of church, 
and wrecked almost all the roof tiles, ex- 
posing the great thirteenth century fresco 
series to the rain. Campanile so completely 
destroyed as to obliterate all elements nec- 
essary for the reconstruction. 

Church completely reroofed, very largely 
with new material. All rubble removed. 
Part had to be blown up as the rain had 
compacted it into a sort of cement. Miss- 
ing walls at corner of church rebuilt. Cam- 
panile can only be rebuilt from photo- 
graphs and measured drawings (Figs. 38- 
39 )- 

S. Piero in Vinculis 
Fine Romanesque church. 

Shell holes in roof and on campanile. All 
work completed February 1945. 

Church of the Dual coni a 
Interesting late Renaissance church. 
Heavy damage to roof, walls and ceiling; 
repaired by Italian Government. 

S. Sebastiano in Banchi 

Afediocre church damaged beyond repair. 

i B5 } 


Rest demolished as a public menace, and 
all salvageable materials put aside. 

S. Sisto 

Important early Romanesque church. 

Shell hole on south aisle, repaired Janu- 
ary 1945. 

S. Stejano dei Cavalieri 
Splendid Mannerist church by Vasari. 
Widespread damage by German mortar 
shell which landed in garden, backfired 
and hit the campanile, destroying colon- 
nettes and balusters and dropping debris 
through the ceiling, severely damaging a 
portion of the great gilded wood ceiling. 
Subsequent rains caused further damage, 
especially to the shell-thin vaults of the 
side aisles, which were filled with debris 
from an early disorderly repair of the roof. 
This debris turned into mud, and several 
of the vaults collapsed. Shell hits on cam- 
panile particularly dangerous on account 
of the fragility of the open Renaissance 
arcaded structure. All ceiling paintings 
had previously been removed and taken 
to safety. 

Roof has had to be remade almost through- 
out. It is now complete. Repairs to cam- 
panile complete. Bits of carving from ceil- 
ing out and recomposed. -All endangered 
mediaeval banners had been removed to 

S. Zeno 

Minor Gothic structure. 

Damage to roof, windows and walls 
through shells. 

Casa Bocca-Travaglini 
Fine mediaeval house -tower, with Roman- 
esque windows and arcades. 

Hit by shells. Damage to roof and walls; 
now completely repaired. 

Loggia dei Banchi 

Fine loggia bv Cosimo Pugliani. possibly 
on designs by Buontalenti. 

Roof pierced by shellfire, about torty per 
cent of surface to replace. Damage to ceil- 
ings and marble floors. Root repairs com- 
pleted and building out of danger. 

Palazzo Agostini 

One of the richest Gothic palaces in Tus- 

Shell damage to roof repaired by pro- 
prietor; repairs to interior continuing. 

Palazzo della Carovana 

Superb fagade by Vasari, with rich sgraj- 


Damage to portions of the interior through 
fire caused by negligence of American 
air corps unit. All damage repaired. 

Palazzo alia Giornata 
Handsome late Cinquecento palace. 
Partial collapse of part of palace overlook- 
ing courtyard by German mines. Heavy 
damage to interior and to roof. Removal 
of rubble mostly completed and roof on 
west side and on tower practically fin- 
ished by AMG and proprietor. Repairs 
completed by Italian Government. 

Palazzo 'Medici 

Rich Gothic palace, much restored. 
Three-quarters of the palace destroyed; 
now rebuilt by Italian Government. 

Palazzo Pretoria (Torre dell’ Orologio) 
Tower completely destroyed. Bronze bell 
and building materials have been salvaged 
from the ruins. 

Palazzo Reale 

Hit by bombs and also damaged by Ger- 
man mines. Roof badly damaged, and cen- 
tral portion at rear demolished. Reroofing 
of standing portions completed. Demoli- 
tion of threatened portions and removal 
of rubble remains to be done. 

Palazzo Toscanelli 

Fine Cinquecento palace, damaged by 
shells and mines. 

Xo project made. Work consisted only of 
walling up entrances. Repairs now- com- 
pleted b\ Italian Government. 

Sostegno snl Fosso dei XaviceUi 
Gothic canal gate. 

Root completely gone, .\rches and vaults 
partly collapsed. 

{ 136 } 




Gothic structure o£ first importance. All 
works of art intact. 

Heavy blast damage to roof over apse, im- 
periling the fresco series by Passignano 
and other sixteenth century painters. All 
roof and wall repairs completed June 30, 



Splendid Gothic building in black and 
white marble. 

Blast damage to roof and walls. Roof 
damage repaired June 20, 1945. Wall dam- 
age recendy patched. 

S. Antonio del Tau 

Small building with unusual fresco series 
by Florentine and Pistoiese late Trecento 
painters. Damaged by blast from near 
miss. Urgent repairs made. 

S. Domenico and Convent 
Gothic church with painted timber ceiling 
and rich series of frescoes and sculptures. 
Direct bomb hits largely demolished clois- 
ter and chapter house, plus approximately 
one-third of south nave wall, including 
the tomb of Filippo Lazzari by Bernardo 
Rossellino, smashed into little pieces. Paint- 
ed fourteenth century roof timbers in af- 
fected area collapsed, and many were re- 
duced to splinters. Roof tiles throughout 
were badly damaged, so that church leaked 
everywhere. Convent devastated. 

Several frescoes totally destroyed including 
a Madonna and Child by Fra Paolino, a 
Trecento Annunciation, and a fresco by 
Bartolommeo Cristiani. The series of fres- 
coed lunettes in the large cloister, by Se- 
bastiano Vini, illustrating the lives of 
the Dominican saints, now practically de- 
stroyed by rain. 

All rubble has been cleared and sorted. 
Many architectural fragments have been 
saved, and reconstruction of cloister is pos- 
sible. Protection made of roof tiles has 
been placed over conoids of vaults still 
remaining attached to wall. Rescued beams 
have been covered with tiles, and will be 
ready to replace. Remaining section of 

roof has been completely redone and is 
now watertight. 

Bomb damage to right wall is now re- 
paired. Demolished portion has been re- 
placed by new wall, complete from floor 
to eaves. Adjacent badly damaged section 
has been dismanded and is now recon- 
structed, while timbers above are shored. 
Restoration of interior nearing completion. 
Temporary protecdons have been erected 
over frescoes by Lippi Dalmasio in cloister 
and magnificent thirteenth century Cruci- 
fixion fresco in chapter house, entirely 
freed from rubble, and now protected from 
further damage by dampness and sun. This 
latter suffered severely from having re- 
mained half covered by damp rubble for 
more than a year. 

Fresco fragments of fourteenth and fif- 
teenth centuries, some of fine quality, have 
had to be detached from nave to be saved. 
Others remain still in place, undamaged. 
Si.xteenth century frescoes of cloister large- 
ly destroyed by dampness. 

Tomb of Filippo Lazzari was fortunately 
excavated soon after bombing of church, 
and all pieces have been saved, ready to 
be put together. 

S. Giovanni al Cor so 

Beautiful late Quattrocento church by 
Ventura Vitoni. 

Cupola, vaulting, all four arches com- 
pletely collapsed, with roof on top of them. 
Walls so damaged that they too will have 
to be demolished. Cloisters destroyed in 
many places and what remains unroofed. 
The following works of art were utterly 
destroyed: Nativity, from high altar, by 
Sebastiano Vini, twelve pictures by minor 
seventeenth century artists; four penden- 
tive frescoes by Pistoiese artists of six- 
teenth century; Stigmatization of St. Eran- 
cis, by Pistoiese artist of sixteenth century; 
seventeenth century Last Supper. The 
Baratta sculptures on the high altar were 
smashed into bits, but these can be put 

Mountainous rubble has been excavated, 
showing that practically all the elements 
are present for the reconstruction of the 

{ B7 } 


church. Most of the magnificent architec- 
tural features in pietra serena have come 
out of the rubble intact, and since the 
structure of the church was of rough ma- 
sonry covered with plaster, these and the 
complete measured drawings which exist 
will be sufficient to bring back this mas- 
terpiece by Ventura Vitoni. Standing por- 
tions now shored by Italian Government, 
but no reconstruction attempted (Figs. 40- 

S. Giovanni Puorcivitas 
Bomb landed in street before church, caus- 
ing some fragmentation damage to facade. 
Buildings behind church wrecked. All tiles 
blow'n from roof. Roof timbers damaged 
through remaining uncovered for year and 
a half. Altar rail damaged by fragmenta- 
tion. Protections effective in preventing 
damage to the portal, pulpit by Guido da 
Como, and stoup by Giovanni Pisano. 
Della Robbia group removed for safety. 
Church completely reroofed. 

Madonna dell’ Umiltd 
Grand octagonal church by Ventura Vi- 
toni, with cupola by Vasari. 

Slight damage to roof and cupola. 

S. Maria delle Grazie 
Fine Quattrocento church by Michelozzo. 
Shell hole in roof, shell hits in walls. 
Roof repaired; work on walls not yet 
completed. Works of art intact. 

S. Salvatore 

Thirteenth century Gothic church. 
Damage to roof and walls. 

Palazzo Communale 
Superb Gothic palace. 

Minor damage to windows and walls. 

Palazzo Panciatichi (Bad) 

Impressive Quattrocento palace. 

Roof destroyed by bombs, portico and 
rear of building, facing Via Panciatichi, 
destroyed down to first floor. Roof over 
existing part has been rebuilt, and rubble 
cleared. Rest awaits financing of project. 

PITECCIO (Pistoia) 

Parish Church 

Roof destroyed. Walls damaged. 


S. Lucchese 

Completely unroofed by fire caused by 
artillery shells. Movable works of art, in- 
cluding Raffaello dei Carli, Noli me Tan- 
gere, triptych by pupil of Orcagna, and a 
Gothic statue of the Virgin, totally de- 
stroyed by fire. Frescoes by Gaddi school 
damaged by fire and rain. Della Robbia 
school altarpiece damaged by shell frag- 
ments. Paolo di Giovanni Fei frescoes 
slighdy damaged by rain and sun. Gerino 
da Pistoia frescoes in convent damaged 
by rain. 

Remarkable Trecento cabinets in sacristy, 
with tiny panel paintings by Ugolino da 
Siena, perfecdy intact. 

Fei frescoes and Robbia altarpiece were 
covered by protections of porous brick, 
with air holes. Chapels have been reroofed, 
as has portion of adjoining house contain- 
ing Gerino da Pistoia frescoes. Superin- 
tendency has provided for excellent clean- 
ing of the frescoes by the restorer Petti- 
nelli. Roof over church commenced by 
AMG and completed by Italian Govern- 


Villa Medici 

Majestic villa by Giuliano da Sangallo, 
with important frescoes by Pontormo and 

Part of roof destroyed by shells. Hits on 
walls as well. Doors and windows dam- 
aged; frescoes intact. Part of park en- 
closure and gates destroyed. Roof and 
walls completely repaired. 

PONTE A GREVE (Florence) 

Shaken and cracked by explosion of mines 
that destroyed adjacent fourteenth century 
bridge. Neri di Bicci fresco cracked. Fres- 
co consolidated, tabernacle masonry re- 
worked; fresco restored. 

POPPI (.\rezzo) 

5 . Fedele 

Damage to roof by shells and blast; sev- 
enty per cent to reset. Work completed 
June 30, 1945. .\11 works of art intact. 

( ns } 


PRATO (Florence) 

Cathedral and cloister 

Romanesque and Gothic church of first 


Slight damage to roof. Windows near 
Filippo frescoes broken. Loggia of cloister 
ruined, portico in bad condition. Roof 
repaired over church, but work on cloister 
held up awaiting financing. AH works of 
art, including sculpture by Giovanni Pi- 
sano and Donatello and frescoes by Ag- 
nolo Gaddi and Filippo Lippi, intact. 

Gothic church. 

Apse destroyed by bomb. Chapel with 
frescoes of Poccetti school badly shaken 
and cracked. Reconstructed by Italian Gov- 

S. Bartolommeo 
Trecento church. 

Church totally destroyed by bombs. At- 
tempt made to salvage cloister; demolition 
later proved necessary. 

S. Maria delle Carceri 

Superb Renaissance church by Giuliano 

da Sangallo. 

Damage to outer wall of right transept 
by near miss. Damage to wall repaired. 
Della Robbia medallions had been re- 
moved to safety and are intact. 

S. Maria del Giglio 

Four-fifths of roof over nave collapsed, as 
well as part of right wall with its altar 
and one arch of portico. Clearing of rubble 
and recovery of architectural fragments 

5 . Maria della Field 

Early Seicento church with arcaded loggia. 
Shell holes on roof of nave and choir; one- 
quarter of roof of portico damaged; some 
of vaults of portico cracked. Roof repaired. 

House of Filippino Uppi 
See text, pp. 62-63. House completely de- 
molished by direct bomb hit. which 
smashed in thousands of pieces the taber- 
nacle fresco by Filippino. This fresco has 
been completely recomposed by the restorer 

Tintori and the fragments of fifteenth cen- 
tury architecture rescued from the house. 

Palazzo Pretorio 

Fine thirteenth century palace. 

Three shell holes in roof, opening building 
to rain which caused floor of one room to 
collapse; almost all windows broken. Re- 
pairs completed. 


Parish Church 

Simple Romanesque church. 

Campanile destroyed by German mines, 
wrecking portion of church. Walls now 
rebuilt by Italian Government. 


Eleventh century church often restored. 
Shell damage to roofs of church, cloister, 
loggia, and chapter house; 70 sq. meters 
to reconstruct and 350 to reset. Most ur- 
gent work completed under amg; re- 
mainder under Italian Government. 

S. BARONTO (Pistoia) 

Parish Church 

Fine primitive Romanesque church in idyl- 
lic landscape setting. 

Church almost totally destroyed by Ger- 
man mines; rubble cleared. Poccetti school 
frescoes largely lost. Reconstruction by 
Italian Government now under way. 

S. CASCIANO (Florence) 

Church of the Misericordia 
Unimportant church with splendid pulpit 
by Giovanni di Balduccio, triptych by 
Ugolino da Siena and Crucifix by Simone 
Martini, all intact. 

Roof tfles completely blown away by 
bombs. New roof completed June 30, 1945. 


San Donato 

Part of the roof damaged by shells. Cam- 
panile now reconstructed by Italian Gov- 

S. DONNINO (Florence) 

Tower of the T ornaquinci Palace 
Roof completely destroyed through bom- 

( 139 } 


bardments, 8o sq. meters of roof to be re- 
placed; now reconstructed. 



See text, pp. 11-13. Heavily pounded by 
artillery. Roof tiles blown off or fractured 
throughout building. Large holes in nave 
and aisle vaulting. Direct hit on chapel of 
S. Fina brought down only one side of 
curtain of Benedetto da Maiano tomb. 
Large hole in Barna Crucifixion and Mar- 
riage in Cana. Large shell hole in Taddeo 
di Bartolo Paradise. 

Arrangements for roof repairs quickly 
contracted by Captain Keller. Roof even- 
tually entirely recovered in church itself. 
Windows have either been bricked up or 
filled with composition board and glass. 
All shell holes in masonry have been re- 
paired. Three windows, preexistent to, and 
covered by, the frescoes, have been walled 
up from the back. Window nearest the 
fagade, most likely to fall, was shored 
from the inside to prevent immediate col- 

Fragments have been recovered and fitted 
into the frescoes of the Crucifixion and the 
Marriage in Cana, now solid and out of 
danger. Smaller pieces seem to be in 
conditions beyond recovery, so that certain 
sections of both these frescoes are lost for- 
ever. The Flight into Egypt, on the win- 
dow which fell December 22, 1944, has 
been pieced together on a wood stretcher 
and replaced in the window. The work, 
a job of infinite patience, was complicated 
by the half obliterated condition of that 
section of the series, and by the fact that 
the fresco, falling from such a height, was 
disintegrated rather than smashed. The 
result of the long labor is a mosaic in 
which hardly more than the outline of 
the composition is decipherable. 

Careful cleaning by the Italian Govern- 
ment has removed all the nineteenth cen- 
tury repaint, already loosened by damp- 
ness, which formerly disfigured the Barna 
frescoes. They are now consolidated and. 
except for the missing sections, in better 
condition than before the war. 

San Bartolo 

Small but very fine Romanesque church 
in brick. Roof totally collapsed. Only out- 
side walls remain intact; roof now re- 
built by Italian Government. 

Palazzo Communale 

Struck by numerous shells of heavy cali- 
ber. Roof badly smashed, and some large 
holes in masonry. All masonry holes have 
been patched and roof has been repaired. 
Fresco by Lippo Memmi intact. Thir- 
teenth century hunt frescoes damaged in 
several places; work of consolidation com- 

5 . Lorenzo 

Blast damage to roof; 70 sq. meters to re- 
place and 100 sq. meters to reset. Repairs 
completed December 31, 1944- Della Rob- 
bia reliefs and Madonna by Master of the 
Fogg Pieta intact; latter in Florence. 

S. Maria delle Grazie 
Bombing of adjacent railway destroyed 
eighteenth century half of basilica right 
down to the crypt, and badly damaged 
roof of sixteenth century portion. Roof of 
sixteenth century portion completely reset 
with large percentage of new tiles, walled 
off from destroyed portion, and consoli- 
dated by masonry spurs. Vasari gilded 
altar intact. Reconstruction of eighteenth 
century portion of church now begun by 
Italian Government. 

Palazzo Pretoria 

Fine arcaded Gothic palace. 

Military truck backed into corner of pal- 
ace at full speed; knocked down octagonal 
stone column, which brought down vault- 
ing, column above, and vaulting above that 
— entire corner of palace. Six Robbia school 
and five stone coats-of-arms smashed to 
bits. Corner completely reconstructed, 
largely with original material and re- 
roofed. Robbia reliefs reconstructed and 

S. GODENZO (Florence) 


Imposing Romanesque church. 

i 140 } 


Heavy roof damage through explosions of 
German mines which completely destroyed 
the village. Right corner of apse has severe 
crack. Damage completely repaired. 

SAN LEO (Arezzo) 


Tiny primidve Romanesque church with 
fine Quattrocento apse and transepts. 
Church already in bad condition before 
the war. Direct hit by artillery shell 
brought down half the campanile and de- 
stroyed what remained of roof. Triumphal 
arch badly shaken and ready to collapse. 
Two fourteenth century Madonnas in fres- 
co as well as fine Quattrocento architec- 
tural details have suffered from rain and 

Under amg triumphal arch was dismount- 
ed and rebuilt, and church reroofed. Work 
on architectural details and campanile 
completed under Italian Government. 


S. Marcello 

Heavy damage to walls; roof and vaulting 
completely destroyed. Rubble has been re- 
moved; rest awaits financing. 


Parish Church 

Romanesque church, much rebuilt, with 
fine tower and superb pulpit. 

Many artillery hits caused heavy damage 
to roof and walls, and two hits at base of 
campanile undermined it dangerously. 
Church completely reroofed, and campa- 
nile and w'alls repaired. 

S. MINIATO (Pisa) 


Trecento church, often restored. Scene of 
German massacre of scores of helpless 

Many shell hits on roof and right wall 
penetrating into interior; damage to wood- 
en ceiling and to campanile. Rubble com- 
pletely removed and roof and masonry 

S. Chiara 

Roof partly gone, damage to walls through 

S. Francesco 

Impressive Gothic church. 

Shell hits on roof and walls; all repairs 

Palazzo Grifoni 

Fine Cinquecento palace by Giuliano di 
Baccio d’Agnolo. 

Germans blew up the entire right wing 
of the palace and part of the center in or- 
der to block the road. Retaining walls 
have been built to hold up what is left of 
the palace. All work financed by proprie- 



Gothic church with magnificent decorative 

Roof badly damaged by shellfire and ma- 
sonry by shell fragments. Fine choir stalls 
open to rain. Sano di Pietro altarpiece bur- 
ied by rubble. All roof repairs are now 
completed and monument out of danger. 
Architectural restorations interrupted by 
war will have to be recommenced. Sano di 
Pietro brought back to Siena. Great Goth- 
ic portal intact. 

S. S.A.VINO (Pisa) 


Fine Romanesque abbey church. 
Campanile destroyed through mines. Roof 
of the church almost gone. 

SESTINO (Arezzo) 

S. Pancrazio 

Small Romanesque church on site of 
Roman temple. 

Some shell damage. Damage repaired and 
architecture cleared of incrustations by 
Italian Government. 



Provincial Renaissance church. 

Heavy damage to roof over the nave, 
chapels, and baptistery. Repaired by Italian 
Government with funds provided bv amg. 

Palazzo Medici 

Fine Mannerist building by Ammanati. 
Shell damage to roof and walls. Repaired 

{ Ml } 


by Italian Government with funds pro- 
vided by AMG. 

SETTIGNANO (Florence) 

Villa La Gamberaia 

Fine Cinquecento villa with one of the 
most perfectly preserved Renaissance gar- 
dens in Italy. Germans set fire to files of 
Institute of Military Geography stored in 
villa, gutting the building completely. 
Only outer walls left, in ruinous condition. 
Garden intact. 

SIENA (Siena) 

Mending of large number of broken win- 
dows in cathedral and Piccolomini Library. 
Completed with temporary means under 
AMG, now repaired with glass. 

5 . Francesco 

Important Gothic church. Lorenzetti fres- 
coes and all other works of art intact. 
Two hundred and ten sq. meters of roof 
ruined, 400 sq. meters damaged, by near 
misses. All windows broken. Two beams 
endangered by seeping water. Some dam- 
age to masonry. Roof repairs completed. 
Windows closed with bricks and glass. 

Hospital of S. Maria della Scala 
Frescoes by Beccafumi, Domenico di Bar- 
tolo, and Vecchietta, damaged by infiltra- 
tion of water. Beccafumi fresco consoli- 
dated and cleaned. Vecchietta frescoes in 
Sala di S. Pietro one-third obliterated 
through infiltrations. Scaffolding erected 
and consolidation of crumbling frescoes 
by restorer Pettinelli effected by amg. 


Fine Quattrocento church designed by Gia- 
como Cozzarelli. 

Church largely destroyed by bombs; com- 
plete collapse of roof, vaulting of nave, 
side aisles, chapels, and sacristy, and almost 
total destruction of cupola. 

Fragments of Robbia and Cozzarelli re- 
liefs base all been excavated from rubble 
and carefully put aside ready to be re- 
paired. Fragments detached from penden- 
tives: all rubble cleared and walls con- 
solidated under \mg. Reconstruction near- 
ing completion under Italian Government. 

Museo dell’ Opera del Duomo 
Repair to hole in wall and to windows, all 
of which were broken by small caliber 
bomb. Contents intact. 

Palazzo Bindi-Sergardi 
Frescoes, the masterpieces of Beccafumi, 
severely shaken by bomb that destroyed 
adjoining room. A few small pieces fell, 
and were reattached. Endangered portions 
of frescoes, already largely detached from 
ceiling, were supported by props and con- 
solidated by means of injections through 
the frescoes and through holes in the vault 
above them. 

Pinacoteca (Palazzo Buonsignori) 

Roof gone for 14 sq. meters and damaged 
for 60 sq. meters. Considerable breakage 
of glass. All repairs completed by Decem- 
ber 1944. 


S. Maria Assunta 

Fine Romanesque church with Quattro- 
cento rose window. Explosion of bridge 
below caused damage to roof, coffered 
ceilings, campanile, and to pavement in 
the portico. 

TERENZANO (Florence) 

5 . Martino 

Heavy shell damage to roof. Small cam- 
panile collapsed, holes in walls. All urgent 
work completed. Works of art intact. 


S- Agostino 

Eleventh century church with traces of 
Romanesque frescoes. 

Some shell damage to roof and walls; re- 
pairs completed. 


S. Lorenzo 

Shell damage to walls and roof (40 sq. 
meters). .\11 damage repaired May 20, 
1945. Early fourteenth century Madonna 
and Lorenzo di Bicci frescoes safe. 


S. Francesco 

Fine church, originally mediaeval but 

{ M 2 } 


much rebuilt. Quattrocento cloister. Church 
more than half destroyed. Robbia relief 
badly damaged, and another buried under 

VILLAMAGNA (Florence) 

S. Donnino 

Primitive Romanesque church. 

Shell damage to walls and roof (50 sq. 
meters), to fagade and campanile. Re- 
pairs completed. Granacci, Ghcrardo, and 
Mariotto di Nardo altarpieces safe. 

VINCI (Florence) 

S. Ansano 

Heavy damage through direct bomb hit; 
portico completely destroyed, half of cam- 
panile collapsed, roof badly damaged. Re- 
moval of rubble completed; interior re- 
stored. Rest of work awaits financing. 

VOLOGNANO (Florence) 

Parish Church 

Church being without importance, it was 
decided to repair adjacent oratory roof, 
as refuge for large altarpieces by Fra Bar- 

tolommeo and Puligo. Repairs completed 
July 31, 1945. 



Splendid Romanesque church, with colon- 
nade and ceiling rebuilt in late Renais- 

Heavy damage to roof by shellfire, dam- 
aging also part of Capriani ceiling, and 
uncovering entirely the chapel of S. Carlo. 
All roof repairs completed in August. All 
works of art, including the great thirteenth 
century Crucifi.xion group, and candle- 
bearing angels by Mino da Fiesole, intact. 

S. Alessandro 

Romanesque church, partially rebuilt. 
Partial destruction of roof and apse; en- 
tire sacristy collapsed. All repair work on 
church completed. 

Cappella Guidi or Sta. Croce 
Slight damage to roof had permitted wa- 
ter to filter into vaults and cause some 
damage to important, though repainted, 
frescoes by Cenni di Guido di Ser Cenni. 
Roof tiles were reset. 



A. Towers demolished by the Germans because of possible usefulness as ob- 
servation posts: 



BROZZI (Florence) 


EMPOLI (Florence) 

Campanile of Collegiata 
Campanile of S. Agostino 

MONTISI (Siena) 

Torre del Commune 

QUARTO (Florence) 

Torre degli Agli 

( M3 } 

S.-\L.\ (Florence) 

Campanile of S. Lucia 


La Berta 

SAN C.\SSIANO (Lucca) 
Campanile of parish church 

SAN BARONTO (Pistoia) 
Campanile and most of church 

S.VN .MINI A TO (Pisa) 

Casde of Frederick II 



Campanile Campanile of former abbey 

B. Other monuments blown up by the Germans to serve as road blocks: 

Town gate 

Arcaded streets (fifteenth century) 

CAMAIONE (Florence) 

Villa Antinori 

Town gate 


Parish church 

FAIANO (Arezzo) 

Parish church 

FLORENCE (Florence) 

Ponte S. Trinita 

Casa Macchiavelli (house of the author 
of the Principe, many other ancient 
houses in the area totally destroyed) 
Palazzo Acciaioli (rich Cinquecento pal- 
ace; only small section remains) 
Palazzo Ambron (Renaissance palace 
with superb cortile) 

Palazzo de‘ Bardi (seat of Colombaria 
Library, with fine Quattrocento ar- 
cades over Arno) 

Palazzo Barbadori (section of facade 

Palazzo Belfredelli (section of facade re- 

Palazzo Canigiani ( fourteenth century. 

with fifteenth<entury cortile) 
Palazzo Canigiani (fifteenth century) 
Palazzo de .\ngehs 

Palazzo Firidolfi-Ricasoli (fourteenth 

Palazzo Guicciardini-Mazzei (fourteenth 
century ) 

Palazzo Mannelli ! fourteenth century, 
v\ith early fifteenth-century cortile) 
Palazzo Manneili-Galilei (small portion 
remains, clinging to Torre dei Man- 
nelli ) 

Palazzo Novellucci-Strozzi (seventeenth- 

century facade destroyed; cortile in 
style of Baccio d’Agnolo pardy pre- 

Palazzo de Rossi (fourteenth century, 
portion of facade remains) 

Palazzo Rossi-Cerchi-Canigiani (fine six- 
teenth-century palace w'ith fifteenth- 
century cortile) 

Torre dei Girolami 
Torre dei Guidi 
Torre dei Gherardini 
Torre di Parte Guelfa 
Torre dei Rossi 
Torre dei Ridolfi 
Torre dei Serragli 

MEZZAVIA (Arezzo) 

S. Maria degli Angeli (handsome oc- 
tagonal Cinquecento church) 


Town gate 

Half of Palazzo Communale 

POPPI (.Arezzo) 

Town gate 


Two-thirds of Palazzo Grifoni (splen- 
did palace by Giuliano di Baccio 


Parish church 

ST.AGGI.A (Siena) 

Porta Senese 


-Ail four superb towered gates of this 
unique castellated sillage 

Two-thirds of the walls and towers 

Fine mediaeval 

( 144 } 


This account cannot even list the in- 
numerable bridges of artistic interest, and 
often minimal military importance, blown 
up by the Germans. It may be assumed 
that less than five per cent of these are 

C. Monuments destroyed by Allied £ 

AREZZO (Arezzo) 

S. Bernardo 


S. Alichele 

CERTALDO (Florence) 

House of Boccaccio 

LIVORNO (Livorno) 

Cathedral. Less than one-third remains. 

PISA (Pisa) 

SS. Cosma e Damiano 

Numerous fine mediaeval houses. Some 

still standing. They were an essential ele- 
ment in the Italian landscape. Numerous 
towns and villages of great beauty, such 
as S. Godenzo and Pieve S. Stefano, were 
also eviscerated by German mines. 

action : 

of these could have been repaired, but 
were subsequendy demolished by the 
Air Corps engineers and removed to 
use as fill for the airstrip. 

PRATO (Florence) 

House of Filippino Lippi 

In addition numerous fine mediaeval 
and Renaissance towns and villages, such 
as San Casciano and Pontassieve, were ter- 
ribly damaged by Allied bombardments. 
Firenzuola, with all its Quattrocento ar- 
cades, was totally destroyed. 



The following are the more important works of art in Tuscany known to have 
been either obliterated by the war or so badly damaged as to render restoration 
impossible ; 

AREZZO (Arezzo) 

S. Bernardo. Frescoes by Marco da Monte- 
pulciano, lost save for small fragments 
Normal School Chapel. Fresco by Vasari 
S. Pier Piccolo. Tomb of Bonucci, by fol- 
lower of Montorsoli, e.xcept for bust 
Museo Civico. Panel by Jacopo del Casen- 

Madonna with Saints, Florentine, fif- 
teenth century 

'Madonna with Saints, Florendne, early 
fifteenth century 

Annunciation, Florentine, early fifteenth 

Pieta, Florentine, fourteenth century 
Virgin and Child, Florentine, fourteenth 

Pietd, drawing. Florentine, fourteenth 

Giovanni del Biondo, Madonna with 

Two pictures by Bicci di Lorenzo 
EMPOLI (Florence) 

Museo della Collegiata. Empoli, Presenta- 
tion in the Temple 

Cigoli, Last Supper, and Heiaclius 
bringing the Cross to Jerusalem 
Botticini. Deposition 
Macchietti. Glory of St. Lawrence 
Collegiata. Fifteenth-century fresco of 

S. Agosdno. Two fliteenth<entury fresco 

{ MS } 


Sixteenth-century wooden choir stalls 
S. Pietro a Biottoli. Cigoli, Calling of Peter 

FIRENZUOLA (Florence) 

Parish church. Naldini, Virgin of the Ro- 

FLORENCE (Florence) 

S. Jacopo sopr’ Arno. Vincenzo Meucci, 
eighteenth century, ceiling frescoes 
Palazzo Bargagli Petrucci. Gherardini, 
eighteenth century, ceiling frescoes 
Borgo S. Jacopo. Nine pictures of minor 
importance from Berenson Collection 

GABOIANO (Pistoia) 

Parish church. Dome frescoes by Valiani, 
eighteenth century 

IMPRUNETA (Florence) 

S. Maria. Tommaso del Mazza and Pietro 
Nelli, polyptych 
Michelozzo, stucco relief 
Cigoli, Assumption 
Bilivert, 'Magdalen 

Three eighteenth-century decorative can- 

LIVORNO (Livorno) 

S. Giulia, Matteo Rosselli, Martyrdom of 
St. fulia (huge altarpiece torn to ribbons 
by vandals) 

MARESCA (Pistoia) 

Parish church. Dome frescoes by Valiani 

MAIANO (Florence) 

Utili, tabernacle 

MEZZAVIA (Arezzo) 

S. Maria degli Angeli. Madonna and 
Child, fresco, fifteenth century 

PISTOIA (Pistoia) 

S. Domenico. Fra Paolino, Madonna and 

Nasini, altarpiece 
Bartolommeo Cristian, fresco 
Annunciation, fresco, fourteenth century 
S. Giovanni al Corso. Nativity, Sebastiano 

Numerous unimportant sixteenth- and 
seventeenth-century paintings 


S. Lucchese. Follower of Orcagna, Polyp- 

Raffaellino dei Carli, Noli me tangere 
Statue of Virgin, wood, fourteenth cen- 

PRATO (Florence) 

S. Bartolommeo. G. A. Ferretti, Corona- 
tion of Virgin, vault fresco, eighteenth 

G. A. Fabbrini, frescoes, 1779 
Wooden crucifix, fourteenth century 
S. Agostino. Carved wooden choir stalls, 
fifteenth century 

SALA (Florence) 

S. Lucia. Crucifixion, fresco, fifteenth cen- 

SAN BARONTO (Pistoia) 

Parish church. Frescoes by Poccetti 
Two seventeenth-century altarpieces, one 
by Gherardini 



Serious damage to paintings, especially panels, was sometimes caused through 
an excess of zeal on the part of local clergy, by their being walled up with no 
holes left for the circulation of air and no other precautions against atmospheric 
damage. Some of the principal incidents are worth recording. 

CORTONA (Arezzo) S. Domenico 

Sassetta, Madonna Enthroned with Saints, triptych 
Fra Angelico, Madonna Enthroned with Saints, triptych 

{ 146 } 


Both of these triptychs, of great artistic importance, had been for centuries in chapels 
made damp by the changed level of the street behind the church. Impregnated with 
dampness, they were walled up by the parroco in a small, dry, and completely airless 
room. Not until December, 1944, was it possible to get the parroco to unwall them. 
When the pictures were brought out they were covered with mold nearly an inch 
thick, all over the painted surface, the pinnacles, and the backs of the panels (Fig. 
46). Only the immediate action of Procacci saved them from quick disintegration, 
and in spite of the risk of collision on the trafSc jammed road from Arezzo, the pic- 
tures were taken at once to Florence. 

The removal of the mold showed the wood to be so decayed that it would have 
to be completely removed from the back of the pigment, and the pigment then re- 
mounted on new panels. This job of infinite delicacy was greatly complicated by the 
advanced stage of decomposition and the difficulty of maintaining sufficient humidity 
in the Gabinetto del Restauro at a time when the electrical supply in Florence was 
continually breaking down. The work was of such urgency and complexity that the 
restorers had to abandon every other task in the frantic race against time and the 
elements to prevent dissolution of the painted surface. Even the layer of gesso be- 
tween the wood and the paint had disintegrated to the consistency of flour. The work 
on these pictures took nearly two years. They were exhibited recently at the Mostra 
del Restauro in Florence in such a way that the pigment could be seen from the bac\, 
showing the first pencil drawing and the underside of the veil of paint (Figs. 47-49), 
before the new gesso and seasoned panels had been applied to complete the restora- 

MONTEPULCIANO (Siena) Cathedral 
Taddeo di Bartolo, Polyptych 

This huge altarpiece, the largest Italian Gothic panel painting, now that the Im- 
pruneta altarpiece is destroyed, was walled up by the Bishop of Montepulciano un- 
der somewhat similar conditions. The damage was, however, not grave, and only 
one of the panels required treatment. 

BADIA A ISOLA (Siena) Parish Church 

Master of Badia a Isola, Madonna and Child 

Sano di Pietro, Madonna and Child, triptych 

These two pictures, of which the first is one of the finest remaining works of the 
immediate following of Duccio, were walled up in the left aisle of the church, in 
a spot heavily stained by dampness. The parroco at first denied their presence in the 
church, but a second visit, prompted by the disaster at Cortona, produced the panels. 
Possibly the dampness of the spot was the salvation of the pictures, for when ex- 
humed they appeared not to have suffered at all. 

CASTIGLIONE D’ORCIA (Siena) S. Maria Maddalena 

Lippo Memmi, Madonna and Child 

Vecchietta, Madonna and Child with Angels 

The conversion of the little church into a granary meant that these panels had 
been walled up for four years in their chapel. The arrival of a truck from Siena with 

{ M7 } 


Prof. Enzo Carli, to bring the pictures back for restoration, was the signal for a verita- 
ble uprising of the women of the village. They cared Httle whether the pictures were 
visible or not, or even whether the paint fell off the panels, but the removal of these 
powerful fetiches was to the primitive inhabitants a disaster of the first magnitude. 
Such was the vehemence of their threats that Carli, who had braved the authority 
of a German general, to save the Sienese pictures in the deposit at Arceno, had to 
turn the truck about and flee before the women of this mountain village. No prom- 
ises as to the eventual return of the pictures would satisfy the old women, and even- 
tually it took an order from the prefect of the Province of Siena and two armed 
carabinieri before the panels could be removed to safety. 

ERR.VTUM: In the legend for Figure 20, for Tommaso di Marco read Tommaso del